• DWT Botany Group

Waldridge Wanderings - Late April 2021

Back in the woods today but this time in Felledge Wood along the South Burn at Waldridge.

Footpath above the wood

This is a very damp Alder/Birchwood and you have to be careful where you walk. Though there are Bluebells, Wood-Anemones and Wood-sorrel, the commonest plants here are Opposite-Leaved Golden-Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium), Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) and no less than 4 species of Cardamine, thebittercresses, including Large Bittercress (Cardamine amara) and the familiar Cuckoo-flower (C. pratensis).

Large Bittercress (Cardamine amara)

Cuckoo-flower (Cardamine pratensis)

This is also a very good site for Greater Tussock Sedge (Carex paniculata), certainly one of the easiest to identify and there are some impressive specimens here.

Greater Tussock Sedge (Carex paniculata) in their grass skirts

Lots of the Birch have it's almost ubiquitous bracket fungi Birch Polypore (Fomitopsis betulina, formerly Piptoporus betulinus) attached but the Alder don't appear have any fungi when they are standing, even if dead. That is except for one tree which has Alder Bracket (Mensularia radiata, formerly Inonotus radiatus), - the name changing is getting a bit out of hand these days - which I have never seen anywhere else. It's high up so a dead tree so there's no change of climbing up for a better photo.

Birch Polypore (Fomitopsis betulina)

Alder Bracket (Mensularia radiata)

Many but not all the warbler's have arrived yet but it's cold and may have been held up with these northerly winds. It's a good job really because there's not many insects about yet and what there is seek shelter and a bit of warmth.

Small White (Pieris rapae) getting warm

I wandered a bit further to check on the Sand Martin colomy and these have arrived with more than 50 burrows occupied. The numbers had been dropping recently but there was an increase last year and again this. The Swallows are back too, around the farm, but only a single House Martin and no Swifts yet.

Sand Martins


One of the hedges is here is particularly sheltered and has a small patch of Garden Honesty (Lunaria annua) established. The Orange-tip butterflies (Anthocharis cardamines) do like this plamt.

Male Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Back home and the spring flowers in the garden are now attracting the plants are now attracting the pollinators, with five Bumblebees species noted, a few hoverflies including many Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)

The Hoverfly (Eristalis pertinax)

and I'm lucky to have a colony of Orange-tailed Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa) as the soil is very sandy. Actually it's pure sand under the topsoil.

Orange-tailed Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa)

This colony is probably the reason the garden attracts so many Dark-edged bee-fly (Bombylius major) which is a parasitoid of them and flick their eggs into the mining bees burrows.

Dark-edged bee-fly (Bombylius major)

As usual looking forward to the May Bank Holiday and the weather forecast is yuk!

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