Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Yippee, it's my birthday when I always hope that something good will happen. It usually does - last year, for instance, on my younger son Olly's birthday, the most magnificent Large Emerald came to the trap. I've already had one present: the Pocket Handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrata) which we've had for years has flowered for the first time. Here are some of the bracts - the hankies or ghosts which give the tree its other name. We collected a seed at Bristol Zoo with a favourite aunt and uncle, put it in a pot, forgot about it, found a weird spike with a solitary leaf a couple of years later and planted it out. That was ages ago but it's been worth the wait.
More maybug merriment. There were 15 in the eggboxes this morning and this quartet landed upside down when I was sorting rather dozily through. In the callous manner of nature observers, I sat down to see whether they could right themselves and, if so, how long it would take. They did, in this first case in 47 seconds. The method is to waggle the legs methodically to tilt the centre of gravity, maintaining the movement in a disproportionate way (I couldn't quite work out the mechanics at this early hour) to increase the momentum until the tilt allowed an outstretched leg to get a hold. It was then used as a lever, followed in quick succession by others. Bingo! The whole process was methodical and done without panic. I suspect that maybugs fall on their backs quite often.