First for Fineshade (FFF)
Some of the species that have recently been recorded in Fineshade Wood for the first time
We send all species records to the relevant Northants County Recorder and/or to the Northamptonshire Biological Records Centre.
They are also sent regularly to Forestry England's ecological team and the local beat forester.
Read more about Biological Recording in Fineshade Wood here.
Most of the species below were found during the lockdown period when Fineshade residents were able to exercise in the wood - and had plenty of time to work on identification!
A White-legged Damselfly recorded by Jamie Wildman on 26th May. Also seen then was the Hairy Dragonfly (another FFF) and several of the locally rare Scarce Chasers. These are scarce in Britain and consequently listed under category 3 in the British Red Data Book on Insects.
Night flying moths have ben very well recorded in Fineshade but some day-time flyers have previously been missed. This is the fairly common but exquisite Green Longhorn (Adela reaumurella). There were swarms of them, flaunting their long white antennae on 1st May Barrie Galpin thought they were flies but was soon corrected by fly recorder John Showers.
Many of these black bees were found visiting Comfrey flowers outside Top Lodge on 9th May. It needed the help of bee recorder Ryan Clarke to identify them: they were not bumblebees but Hairy-Footed Flower Bees, Anthphora plumipes. They often nest in the soft mortar and exposed cob of old walls - plenty of that in the vicinity
Another fairly common species but nonetheless a FFF was found on 2nd May feeding on Wintercress near one of the ponds. This is the Crucifer Shieldbug, Eurydema oleracea. It is described as infrequent but well distributed in southern and central England. It comes in two separate forms, some with red spots and some with white.
In May, as the Meadowsweet leaves began to grow in Fineshade, we became aware that some had these bright orange swellings. We'd seen these galls in previous years but never researched what causes it before. It turns out to be Meadowsweet Rust Fungus, Triphragmium ulmariae and is common and widespread wherever Meadowsweet grows in England
This common fungus is Purplepore Bracket, Trichaptum abietinum, and it very surprising that it had not been recorded previously . It typically grows on dead conifers, as here in Fineshade. Recorded in early April.
This tiny moth is the Liquorice Piercer, (Grapholita compositella) found by Jamie Wildman and Susannah O'Riordan on 2nd June. It is classed as rare and is a UK BAP Priority Species. For three years Susannah had been looking out for this species on Fineshade's Wild Liquorice plants. Persistence rewarded!
This is the ichneumon wasp, Ophion scutellaris. Relatively easy to identify, it came to a moth trap on 5 April. There are only a scattering of records of this species across the UK. Ichneumon wasps are all parasitoids and most lay their eggs inside the caterpillars of butterflies and moths.
Another visitor to the moth trap on the 8 April was this caddisfly which has been confirmed as Stenophylax permistus. The species is widespread and fairly frequently recorded in Britain, but not here before.
For years we've enjoyed the sight of white violets on the green at Top Lodge in early spring. But only this year have we looked at them carefully enough to realise that these are not simply a white form of the common Dog Violet but are in fact Sweet Violets, Viola odorata. Sweet violets are scented and apparently are becoming less common though still widespread. So another new flower record for Fineshade.
Another plant-specific fungus was found in early April. Many emerging leaves of the Lords and Ladies plant had black spots on them. We may easily be wrong but this could be Melanustilospora ari. It seems to be very rarely recorded indeed across the country. (Only 53 records on the NBN Atlas, none in this part of the country).
We are still awaiting confirmation of this ID.
Yet another common fungus that only seems to grow on one type of plant, this we think is the well-named Spring Hazelcup, Encoelia furfuracea. This was found in late February in Long Spinney, at the Duddington end of Fineshade Wood
This is in fact a slime mould rather than a fungus as we first thought. It turns out to be Enteridium lycoperdon, with the appropriate common name of False Puffball. It was growing on deadwood beside one the cycle tracks in early April.