Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Oak before everything

There's an old saying of Oak before Ash, in for a splash. If that's true then we're in for a seriously damp year, as on a wander around the quarry at The Lodge today, I came across the bizarre sight of an oak tree whose buds had begun to burst. Oaks are usually one of the last trees to come into leaf each year, so this is way out of season.

Early oak!

Despite the warmer weather, insects were still pretty thin on the ground, but I did see a couple of 7-spot ladybirds which had emerged from hibernation, and a few birch catkin bugs were out and about. While engaging in a spot of fence staring I noticed a small bug walking along, which I assumed at first to be one of the Anthocoris flower bugs, tiny predators of even smaller insects. After a while on BritishBugs trying and failing to work out which one it was, I gave up and called for assistance on twitter, and rapidly got an identification of Temnostethus pusillus, a close relative of the Anthocoris species and my second new Hemiptera of the year. I can't find much more information on it online, but the maps on the NBN gateway suggest it's a fairly widespread species.

Temnostethus pusillus

The night before I brought the moth trap out of hibernation early to see what might be about in the mild temperatures. The answer was not a lot, but I did get my first moth of the year in the slightly unexpected shape of a Brindled Pug, which I haven't previously seen before April, but in this crazy winter I suspect it's going to be only the first of many early emergers.


  1. For England I feel it's an unusually mild winter this year; many days are very cold but there's also a lot of sun which is normally very rare. I'm surprised that I've been seeing a lot of daffodils flourishing and little blossoms on the trees - it's so unusual here for that to be happening in January. It actually feels to me like a British March.

  2. Yes it's a crazily mild winter, lots of blossom on the trees already, and some little irises I planted in the autumn have already come up and flowered - I wasn't expecting to see them until March at the earliest!