Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Missing, Lost, Found

I've had a bit of a listing revelation when I inadvertently discovered that there were a few omissions from my list. Nothing mind-blowing, just big things - like trees. It started when I mused to myself that all of the oaks I'd looked at whilst at Swithland Wood were English or Red, no Sessile. I also couldn't remember how to differentiate Turkey Oak. And then realised that I could not actually ever recall seeing it. Sure enough, it's not listed, so one I have already hatched a plan to see. I had a quick look at a few other trees, and realised I'd not listed White Poplar either which I was sure I had seen.

My tree list was put together right at the start of drawing up my PSL list, and I only included trees that I absolutely definitely had seen at that time, or indeed had made the effort to see in the few months between thinking about a PSL list and actually submitting one. And in all honesty I don't think I've given trees and woody shrubs much of a second thought since then, other than looking at them for other things. For example, I've featured Bucculatrix bechsteinella leaf-mines on this blog from Pear - and yet I haven't listed the Pear itself. I've also photographed Spindle fruits because I thought they were quirky, and haven't listed Spindle.

Like tiny pink pumpkins - Whetstone 2013

So I had a thorough trawl through and I've ended up with a list of trees to look for in VC55. There are quite a few conifers that I think I've seen but will leave unlisted until I've seen them again. The same goes for a few woody shrubs. But, Spindle, Pear, Yew and Lilac are definite. And then there's the White Poplar ....

Yesterday evening I headed over to Watermead CP South, a site where I was sure a bit of looking at rather than on trees might clinch it. For a change, and to avoid the later evening masses throwing bread at geese, ducks and gulls, I parked up in Birstall and accessed the site from across the River Soar which at this section is almost like a canal including locks.

It didn't take long to find White Poplar. However the visions I had of getting up close and searching for leafmines were scuppered by the fact the both the spindly sapling and the large tree I found - close together - were completely boxed in by bramble and scrub. And I had shorts, ankle socks and light trainers on.

The trunk is leaning over to the left, not the photographer leaning to the right

After finding the poplar, I couldn't help but notice another tree with many white leaves. Leaves that should have been green.

This Field Maple was strikingly afflicted, looking like half the leaves had been deliberately sprayed with Christmas frosting. It's a powdery mildew, Sawadaea bicornis.

A cursory look at White Willow for leafmines etc yielded some weird looking bunches of leaves in rosettes at the end of stalks. I assumed a gall ....

.... and it is. Dipteran, Rabdophaga rosaria

I also noticed lots of Hop around the site, as I have done many times before, and suddenly doubted if I'd listed that (but I had).

I was there for maybe an hour at the most. This site is a lot busier generally than some others; people there who are exercising, cycling, picnicking or fattening the wildfowl are generally used to and tolerant of weirdos walking around watching and photographing birds on the lakes, but weirdos poking around bushes and looking at leaves get more quizzical looks.

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