Saturday, 18 April 2015

16th April - buds start to swell and Alder Leaf Beetles .. eat alder leaves.

I always say the tree buds start to break on 16th April. --Well the sycamore tree buds - which make up a large percent of the trees around here. (The ash buds start quite a lot later)

True enough. this year on the 15th the trees were almost in winter state and on the 16th there was just a glimmering of green swollen buds.  But on 17th it was obvious they were swelling, and a lot more obvious today - the 18th.
Sycamore buds swelling..  the yellow lite trailer form over 28 years ago is still there..

Although London may have been having a heat wave straight after Easter , and the rest of the world is supposed to have had the warmest first quarter of the year (ever?) , these last few weeks have been cold at Settle, apart from Easter Day and following week, and the sycamore buds are relatively late.
The last two nights have been cold with clear skies and bright stars.  One friend thought she saw the northern lights.

So I write this now because it is so exciting and things happen so quickly.

Here is a picture of some Alder beetles that we saw on the mosses day at Preston (I think by then we were in an outlier of Brockholes Nature reserve.

"They are very hungry beetles -  The Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni)". said Gail. And as we looked at the alder saplings each with a few leaves emerging we could see alder beetles on most of the clumps of new leaves.. more alder beetles than food supply. If there are  warm days ahead, lots more leaves will emerge - but if cold days they will be very hungry beetles.

It amazes me in May how many of the young leaves on trees have many many holes in them caused by caterpillars and other insects eating them.  SO now in the few days as buds burst there must be millions  of parent invertebrates hanging around waiting to lay eggs. then in the next three weeks the young leaves will emerge and get attacked!!
(After that the leaves become tough and horrible for insects to eat)

Alder beetles had apparently become  almost extinct in Britain (no records between 1946 and 2003) but now it is increasing rapidly in north of England

Now is the time to eat hawthorn buds.. and in a few days to make oak leaf wine.

The time to distinguish between different species of Orthotrichum moss whose capsules appear in spring. Suddenly after the dormancy of winter so much is happening. .
Bt that's another blog page.

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