Friday, 28 May 2021

Exploring for Riverflies and other insects at Low Bentham Churchyard (plus more flowers, mosses and lichens)

 Doris Cairns and I have visited Low Bentham Churchyard several times. She is going to make some flower paintings for the book they are going to produce one day. I offered to record some lichens

Lichens of Low Bentham Churchyard - SD644692 

On Wed 2nd June we are to go for a walk with Rev Tim Fox and I hope Rev Anne Russell the vicar and one or two of the church parish council team.

On 24th May local entomologists Sharon and Peter Flint from High Bentham came to explore for insects.

Searching for insects resting on the churchyard wall, with the river Wenning beyond.
Note the splendid lichens on the young oak tree in the foreground.

Here is a weevil - 




Riverflies,  spend their young stages in water, and their adult stage looing for a mate in the air: There are three groups: Mayfly, Caddisfly and Stonefly 
mayflies (Ephemeroptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera) and stoneflies (Plecoptera).

We found a Mayfly.  Their wings are raised high.

Mayfly - first adult stage - the wings are shaded grey.
It will cast this coat and then spend the rest of it short adult life with a second coat with much lighter more transparent wings.

Mayfly. Mayflies usually have three tails but some species such as this one only have two tails.


Sharon was pleased to find an adult caddis. This one is called Rhyacophila dorsalis. The one in the video  is a male. Later we found a female.  This species has a fawn/cream diamond from above when the wings close together or a fawn triangle when seen from the side.
Rhyacophila dorsalis

Later we found the female. It has a dark triangle near the end of its body when seen from underneath

We found a yellow Stonefly called "Yellow Sally" - I hope to add a picture of that later.

Later we explored the rest of the churchyard, and the strip of land by the river beyond.

We were delighted to find the big lichen - Ramalina fraxinea which was once thought to be rare but is now increasing.  (How had I missed it on my previous visits to the churchyard?) - Sharon had found it further west in Lancashire 15 years ago.

Ramalina fraxinea

Ground Ivy

Goldilocks: this woodland Buttercup flowers earlier than than the three more common ones: Bulbous buttercup  Meadow Buttercup and Creeping Buttercup. It always as at least one petal deformed. The basal leaves have three lobes.

Bulbous buttercup - this buttercup is easily recognised by its backward pointing sepals

Sweet Vernal Grass is one of the first grasses to flower.



Polytrichastrum  - Hair moss

Orthotricum anomalum  Anomalous Bristle-moss

A cowslip plant carefully protected from the mower!!

Earthnut  also known as Pignut 

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