Thursday, 2 July 2009

Something is eating my trees

I took this picture on 30th May, and since then it seems they've been eating at the same rate.

Here's an oak we've met before, taken this evening.

Walking in the edges of Epping Forest, I looked up to find some trees with hardly a leaf unmunched. The canopy in places seems more transparent than it should be.

My parents' garden, about five minutes' walk from where these pictures were taken, has been buzzing with insects from early Spring. There seems to have been a bumper crop of caterpillars, so there ought to be a bumper crop of little birds - swifts, martens, tits, robins, blackbirds. Here are two blue jays, not such a little bird. They're corvidae, with a similar body plan to magpies and crows, but a bit smaller. The wood pigeons are much bigger, but mostly leave the jays alone. Not very clear, because this is at the limit of my camera's zoom, the only downside of this camera. I was inside the house.

Even the mighty horse-chestnuts have been ravaged by something that eats the leaves from within and leaves red spots. I looked it up, and it turns out to be the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner, a sort of moth.

I was myself savagely and repeatedly munched by the carnivorous kinds.

It's time for bed. Here is a briar rose, at least that's what I call it, tucking itself up for the night.


maya said...

Beauty and disease, I think nature pairs them to make us more aware.

msHedgehog said...

Happily it turns out that the leaf miner doesn't seem to cause any serious or permanent damage to the tree's health - and the infestation in the following year can be reduced by gathering up all the leaves and putting them on a commercial compost heap big enough to get hot enough to kill the pupae (which is what the red spots are). But it seems we're waiting for the local parasitic wasps to get wise to this moth - it's recently moved from the Mediterranean.