What has caused this white colouration on these leaves of pedunculate oak, Quercus robur? There seems to be a lot of it around this year and I have even seen whole trees 'white washed' with it - find it on oaks on the public footpath by the woodland. Answer to follow soon....
What a change in the weather from earlier in the week today, as we have been basking in glorious sunshine all day whilst out on site plant surveying. Many thanks to Pete Acton, Pete Smith and John Young from Notts Biological and Geological Records Centre and to Carl Cornish, our RSPB Conservation Officer, for coming along to the reserve today to take a look at the wetland plants developing on Phases 1, 2 and the old silt lagoon. Everyone was pleased to see the variety of species that are colonising the site (see my previous blog from earlier this week, entitled ‘Amazing aquatics’ for details) and have provided some excellent plant identification tips and guidance for me to use in future surveys.
Other sightings from today include –
My first 2012 record of migrant hawker, Aeshna mixta, dragonfly on site,
A fully grown elephant hawk-moth, Deilephila elpenor, larva feeding on great willowherb on Phase 2 found by Pete, Pete, John and Carl,
4 greenshank over Phase 2 early this morning and later singles throughout the day,
2 dunlin on Phase 3 this morning, seen by volunteer Graham Gamage,
Curlew calling from Phase 1,
Grey wagtail on Phase 1,
And an incredible sighting of thousands of whirligig beetles, Gyrinus spp. on the water’s surface around the sluice on the old silt lagoon.
It has been fantastic to see such a diverse aquatic and wetland plant community developing on Phase 1 in the last couple of weeks. Common reed, or Phragmites australis to be scientific is colonising very well over much of the re-developed area, along with other characteristic wetland species such as the reedmaces, Typha species and a range of herbaceous plants including these I photographed last week....
Water-plantain, or Alisma plantago-aquatica, is a tall species growing up to 1m. It is common throughout much of England and is characterised by it's broad lanceolate leaves and pale pink flowers.
Celery-leaved buttercup, Ranunculus sceleratus is an annual, growing to 50cm. It flowers between May and September and is found commonly on wet banks and ditch sides.
Marsh dock, or Rumex palustris, is a scarcer species, only occurring in lowland south and east England. It reaches 60cm, producing flower whorls in June through to August.
The excellently named trifid bur-marigold, Bidens tripartita, can be found on the margins of freshwater bodies. It is an annual, growing to around 60cm and is widespread throughout England and Wales.
This is a species of water crowfoot, Ranunculus sp., a group of annual or perennial plants that are closely related to the buttercups. Indeed their white coloured flowers look just like white buttercups.
And finally, a stunning species, amphibious bistort, or Persicaria amphibia, is a very common and widespread perennial with spikes of pink flowers. This species often forms colonies of floating leaves and protruding flower spikes across the water surface. Interestingly, it can also occur as a terrestrial form which is much scarcer.