Before the heavy rain came in yesterday I managed a quick local walk, part of which was to look at maple trees for the leaf mines of a tiny moth called Stigmella aceris, which has slowly been expanding its range in south Wales. I didn’t find any on the few trees I looked at, though I will continue to look and will report back here if I do manage to find any.
I decided to switch my focus on to another of the Stigmella moth species, Stigmella aurella, the Golden pigmy moth, which lives its larval life in mines burrowed in bramble leaves. Though you might never see the adult moth, you will undoubtedly be able to find its leaf mines as they are common and widespread throughout most of Britain, and I easily found several examples during my local meander. Now to find the maple-leaf-burrowing variety!
It’s been a week of almost constant rain and, despite my rain wear, I’ve had several drenchings. Fortunately, one of my cameras is waterproof so I can still take photos in the wet. Today it was the leaves that caught my eye and the incredible spectrum of browns.
I didn’t venture far today but I didn’t even have to leave home for this blog post. I figured the recent high winds would’ve blown away all the blossom on my Cherry tree while I was away and I was right, but I hadn’t really considered how much the growth of the new leaves would have progressed. The first photo was taken on 4 March and the second today. What a difference 18 days makes!
I find leaf skeletons fascinating. The structure of a leaf, in particular its veins and midrib, are usually hidden, or at least made less obvious by the tissue of the leaf. But, when the leaf has detached from its tree and the tissue has disintegrated, the structure that remains is wonderfully sculptural, like this Holly leaf I discovered in a local park.
When anyone asks me what my favourite season is I can never decide because they each have their good points but, this year, our late-arriving autumn has certainly been magnificent. On Wednesday I caught the train to Radyr for a meander around Forest Farm Nature Reserve and it was sublime. From bright golden yellows to rustling red-browns, with some leaves still decorating spreading branches above my head and others carpeting the woodland floor beneath my feet, I spent a marvellous day, my eyes admiring, my feet kicking, my neck craning and all my senses spilling over. Ah, autumn!