17th May 2020
When it comes to nature I am fond of the unusual and different. If we look hard enough we can easily come across some amazing things in our urban greenspaces.
For example, every year I get a few holly blue butterflies in my garden. Logically, I assumed this was because there is a holly tree two gardens down from me.
This butterfly is quite small and fairly common in the Kent. The males have sky-blue upper wings with a narrow dark boarder, the female has a broader dark boarder, whilst the underwing of both is light blue or white with a few black spots. As their name implies they lay their eggs on holly trees, but for some reason later in the summer they lay their eggs on ivy and a few other different shrubs as well. So far I have not been able to find out why so if anyone knows then drop me a line!
Having a few different visitors is also fun and this week it has been the crow family which has called round! Firstly a Jay, the large coloured member of the crow family that is normally found in woods, and followed by a Jackdaw, which is a smaller kind of crow that is not often seen in the centre of Medway. The Jackdaw gets its name from the harsh “Chack” call it makes, while the Jay is one our noisiest birds.
Many years ago I worked at the Country Park at Capstone. At the southern end of the park is a large old cherry orchard, for those of you who know Capstone, this is just next to the car park. For the sake of the dog walkers we would keep the grass cut fairly short across most of this area, but allow the grass and flowers to grow around the orchard trees.
An unusual feature that we noticed was that oak trees began to grow up against the cherry trees. For a while we couldn’t work out why this was the case. There are plenty of oaks in the adjacent woods which produce lots of acorns every year and these are a favourite food of the Jay. A simple bit of observation showed that the Jays were carrying the acorns out of the wood to eat them sitting in the cherry trees; every so often one would be dropped. As we were not cutting the around the base of the cherry trees some of these acorns had germinated.
I am sure there are a million of these quirky stories about the natural world. If you have any then please share them and we will post them on the web site.
Keep well and stay safe.
One thought on “Notes from an Urban Greenspace #13”
What a co-incidence Simon – a holly blue featured in the most recent post I wrote for the Friends of Watts Meadow site: https://friendsofwattsmeadow.wordpress.com/2020/05/10/not-just-40-shades-of-green/ We’re spotting lots more colourful flowers at the moment which we’re having fun trying to identify. Hope I remember a few of them post lockdown!