BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘trees’

#365daysofbiking Sick more?

September 5th – Whilst I obsess over galls on oaks and wild roses, other shrubs and trees have their own problems. Here on Clayhanger Common, this sycamore tree is affected by sycamore mites and tar spot fungus.

The curious leaf growths form on the leaf like a gall from the point at which mites feed on the leaf by the same mechanism that other gall insects imply – in the case of these tiny mites, their saliva corrupts the lead cell DNA to grow into a gall.

On the underside of the leaf, a tiny, fur lined aperture into the gall is used by the mite after it has grown to lay its eggs, and the gall is eaten by the hatchling.

This leaf also has tar spot fungus.

Neither harm the host tree to any extent.

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#365daysofbiking Beaming!

September 3rd – Hornbeam trees are fascinating. Often mistaken (particularly by me) for beech, the leaves are perfectly ridged and beautiful, but the seeds, in long drop chains a bit like sycamore, are fascinating.

They’re ripening now and will soon be dappling the cycleways, pavements and industrial estate backways with golden brown mast.

Autumn’s colours may be more muted, but they’re still gorgeous.

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#365daysofbiking Golden years

August 5th – I was at work in Birmingham, late. I came back on a Lichfield bound train at sunset, and stumbled out tired in a beautiful, quiet golden hour.

I’ve been riding this weary journey from work for years along Lynn Lane. Always the same story: Summertime, working late, fatigue. Climb the long, steep steps up from the platform at Shenstone carrying my bike. Look down the lane towards home and the setting sun. Become struck with the sheer beauty of the hour.

And for all those years, the joy of it, and the love for it never wanes.

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#365daysofbiking From tiny acorns grow

 

August 1st – The various varieties of wasp gall that form on oak trees are necessarily seasonal. Rosy, marble and apple galls form from wasp eggs injected into leaf notes, so grown from them in spring and early summer, and by now are largely vacated and spent.

Knopper and artichoke galls form from eggs laid in acorn buds, corrupting the fruit into a gall from the crop, so don’t start appearing until late summer. Right now they’re developing well, forming a protective, curiously shaped home for the wasp larva to hatch in and develop.

Galls are fascinating things for sure, and are markers of the passing year.

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#365daysofbiking Flown

July 8th – The galls that formed on the oak trees in spring that looked like rosy apples have now served their purpose and are dead, their bodies spongy and containing many holes where the wasps that grew from larvae within ate their way out to freedom and maturity.

Galls fascinate me: Corruptions of the tree’s buds by a parasitic, tiny wasp, they grow as host to the wasp’s offspring and take many forms.

These expired galls signal the passing of the season and soon we’ll start seeing knapper and artichoke galls which form on acorn buts, but have the same genesis.

Parasites are fascinating.

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#365daysofbiking Ripening

July 4th – One of the signs of a passing summer is the emergence of various fruits and berries, and their gentle ripening. This morning at Clayhnager, I spotted these rowan berries – beloved of wine and jam makers as well as songbirds – turning from green to a light orange.

Soon they will be a wonderful deep colour, and fall on pavements where they crackle and pop satisfyingly when walked or ridden upon.

The summer really is passing fast now.

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#365daysofbiking A bitter harvest coming

June 18th – Looks like another good season for pears at Clayhanger: This solitary tree is growing by the new pond, just need the orchids and it laden with nascent fruit.

The tend to be hard and inedible, and usually are enjoyed by birds who can tolerate the acid fruit.

In many seasons this tree suffers problems with blight and parasites but this year seems very healthy, which is nice to see.

If even half of these fruit make it it’s bee a very good harvest for the birds.

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#365daysofbiking Mountain excitement

May 10th – One of the most unnoticed blossoms of all that decorate the hedgerows and waysides this time of year is rowan, or mountain ash. This pretty, nicely scented flowers are mostly little appreciated because they appear at the same time as hawthorn flowers, so it all blends into one.

Rowan has beautiful orange berries that are good for jams and wine, and are a lovely splash of late-summer colour.

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#365daysofbiking Tunnel vision

May 9th – I had to go to telford – again, in stead but thankfully fairly light rain.

Whilst I might be rueing the grey and damp, the greenery appears to be loving it. On the cycleway from Telford Station to Priorslee, the green tunnel has now fully returned after months of barren bare tress and hedgerows.

This is actually a joy to cycle along – alive with birds and insects, different types of tree and blossom and such beautiful, vivid colour.

It is in the most unexpected, urban spaces one finds the most stunning, remarkable beauty.

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