Sunday, 12 July 2009

Tales of Domestic Disaster and Dastardly Dutch Elm Disease

The safari is pig sick of the letter 'D' at the moment. Remember our Damaged Drain...well there's more. Now our Dishwasher has Decided to give up the ghost Due to a Dodgy capacitor and we Discovered a Damp patch on the floor by the front Door, (which is new but the Double glazing has been manufactured back to front with the lead lights on the inside and the frosted pane on the outside - how can they make a mistake like that?). The Damp turned out to be caused by an un-Detected Drip from the water stop-tap. Lifting the floor revealed wet rot in the joists which need to be replaced. As they were being Dismantled we Discovered Dry rot too...a further Disaster followed when our brand new friDge went on the blink. Oh, and one of our new gates has split a post in the hot, Dry weather and Dropped on its hinge. Doesn't pose any problems to Extreme Photographer come Extreme Demolition expert/joiner, Raf.

Not having much luck at the moment so if anyone has any to spare please, please, please pass some over to the safari.

So what Does all this alliteration have to Do with Dutch Elm Disease. Well our local patch, the park, is on Devonshire Road and is home to the increasingly scarce White Letter Hairstreak butterfly whose caterpillars feed on Elm trees and Elm trees are the favourite food of the Elm Bark Beetle which carries the Deady Dutch Elm Disease, a fungus that clogs the trees water transport system which eventually kills the tree.

The park has been under attack for some years as can be seen from these galleries of the beetle on a long Dead tree and the stumps of felled victims, but this year there seems to have been a particularly virulent outbreak. Dead and Diseased branches are showing bare amongst the summer foliage of the other unaffected species. The trouble is the WLH caterpillars only feed on Elms so this tiny population could be Doomed.

I Did manage to get a photo of one...not the best shot in the world but it was one - honest! Well it was a long way up and in to the light and sort of facing me...lucky to find it really let alone photograph it. Its onlt ther size of your thumbnail.
I remember the first one I ever saw. It was in a Different local park and I was giving a guided walk to a group of Disabled children. One of them called out he had caught a butterfly from his wheelchair. I was showing others in the group a Meadow Brown and assumed he had caught another - Rule One: Never Assume Nuthin'!!!! - He was calling me over quite excitedly as he knew he had Done well but when I got to him...YIKES WOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW WOULD YA LOOK AT THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You have to remember this is a species that normally spends most of its Days feeding on honeyDew (aphid poo - yummy) at the top of tall trees and this young chap caught it only a couple of feet off the ground. Some feat.

Back at the park there are some young Elms which are small enough to escape the attentions of the beetles but might also be too small to flower so are no use to the WLHs either. There are also a couple of Small Leaved Elms which have haven't been attacked (yet?), perhaps they are distasteful to the beetles, it was on this tree I got the shot.

Also got the Banded Snail 'Double', Black Lipped and White Lipped. The large Buddliea (Butterfly Bush - Buddliea davidii - getting very tenous, or Dubious now!)) is in full flower and played host to a fairly fresh Painted Lady. Nearby was the Great Spotted Woodpecker's nest - they won't be in it next year as those Dang Grey Squirrels have totally Destroyed it. Did see something new today - the Display of Small Skipper butterflies which buzz their wings at each other like moths Desparate to warm up and escape from photgraphers Do. I never knew that! Talking of moths I looked Down for no good reason and spotted this Large Yellow Underwing 'Dancing' (couldn't find a more Descriptive 'D') on my boot. Did I mention the Duo of Common Darter Dragonflies?
Bizarrely Pete (why can't his name have been Dave or Don or Dan?) at Birds2Blog has featured Common Mallow and Black Tipped Soldier Beetles on his posts, must be common round our way at the moment cos I got em too, without realising he'd already snapped em.

Enough of the 'D' nonesense; where to next? Got some more guided walks to Do this week and then next weekend it's National Whale and Dolphin Watch During which I will be found staring at an empty sea in Dreadful weather - hopefully not! Also got some bizarre, tricky bird behaviour to show you if I can get it on film (can Digital be Described as film?) - something I've never seen before anyway.
In the meantime let us know what has been seen in your outback this week.
(Pictures will be aDDed tomorrow cos this Dumb-ass Donkey of a computer Doesn't recognise my camera) Another thing - why am I inside typing away when there is lovely sunshine outside and the wind has Dropped a bit????????? Better get out and try for some better WLH shots


Monika said...

Sorry to hear about all your Domestic woes! Hopefully the sunshine and insects will be a good Distraction.

Warren Baker said...

It can only get better from here on Dave!