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Fallopia japonica
find out more... Japanese Knotweed Copyright: Peter Harvey

Essex Field Club
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Mon 20th May 2013 17:20 by Graham Smith
Lack on Insects
Peter - Virtually everything is lagging behind this year. Even the grass is refusing to grow, if not on my lawn then at Blue House, where it is coming up in patches and providing very poor grazing for the stock. The Blackthorn did not reach its peak until late April/early May (when it has often faded by the end of March) but when it did it coincided with the Wild Cherry blossom and the spectacle was wondrous to behold; while in the meadows the Bulbous Buttercups are only just beginning to add their splash of yellow to the hardier Dandelions! Birds too have been late arriving; the Swallows that nest in one of the hides at Blue House came back only last week; in 2011 they already had young at this time (in 2012 the young died of starvation in the cold and wet at the same time) so perhaps they are wise! As for the breeding Lapwings, the first birds normally lay in late March and the young hatch in the third week of April but this year the March winds froze the males libido in mid-air and they decided to wait three weeks before getting back into the right mood; the young only now appearing. At least they appear to be safe behind the new fox-proof fence. As for moth trapping in the garden; I am averaging 2-3 night, which is appalling, and I'm still catching the likes of Hebrew Character, Common Quaker and Early Grey which normally first appear in late February and are well over by now. I think the problem was three months of almost unrelenting east or north-east winds from mid-January to mid-April. They reduced air temperatures from the forecast 4-5`C to well below zero for much of that time. Enough to inhibit anything - including OAPs like me! At present we seem to be averaging one warm and sunny day every ten or so; thus things are finding it difficult to catch up, especially insects, which are so dependent on the warmth. Nick, the warden at Blue House, has just sent me this photo of an Emperor Moth - a species I have not seen for years - so perhaps things will soon be on the up.

Emperor Moth 2 Copyright: Graham Smith

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