Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Strawberry thief

So, as per the conclusion to yesterday's post, why isn't anything vying with us for our crop of wild strawberries? Here (above) is a helping in all its glory, before Sunday lunch with the ceremonial pond-launching relations. These are small strawberries compared with the main, supermarket kind, but they've got pretty big and I'm baffled as to why our many birds, slugs and snails are not wolfing them down. The birds Hoover up our yew berries - poisonous to humans - so I don't think it can be anything to do with the colour red acting as a Darwinian warning. And here (left) is proof that occasionally the apparent taboo is broken. I wonder if that was a particularly persevering slug. I can see that the plants' very tangled and hairy undergrowth may be an effective defence against them and snails.

In moth-land, meanwhile, here's another excuse for my hopelessness with identification. These two (above) are both Dark Arches, in spite of their different colourways. The one on the right does at least have the distinction of being a 'form' or aberration with its own extra name of 'Aethiops' - cue Romeo's first impression of Juliet: "It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night, like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear. Beauty too rich for use..."

If any reader is courting, you might like to show your beloved this moth, compare her to it and stand well back. Two further examples of why I get in such a stew with all this brownery-greyery were also in the trap last night (the year's shortest-equal with the night before): a Grey Arches (just above) and a Dusky Brocade (right).

Oh for the brighter joys of Costa Rica, where Rosie has been moth-spotting. Here (below) is another of her finds. And now to work, on Mr Osborne and the consequences of his budget.


Phil said...

I can almost smell the aroma of those strawberries, Martin. On several occasions I've seen the frogs in our garden eat the wild strawberries. Maybe they're a strain of frog with adventurous tastes - I've also seen one catch and swallow a wasp that was drinking on the pond surface. It was the only time I've seen the faintest trace of an expression on a frog's face - a 'good grief, what have I done moment'. Didn't seem to do it any harm, though.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Phil

I wish I'd seen that frog. There are supposed to be lots of wasps coming out with the lovely weather, but they haven't appeared here yet - thank goodness, cos they lick our wooden garden chairs with their rasping tongues to make pulp for their (admittedly beautiful) nests.
Wild strawberries are almost perfumes, aren't they. Actually, I know some people who don't like them on they account, so maybe that explains the slugs and birds' lack of interest...
All v best as ever, M

Friends of Buck Wood said...

I'm very jealous about the size of your wild strawberries,mine usually are the size of large peas.
Birds and slugs don't eat mine either although they do get eaten; by my gready schnautzer. She also eats my peas, tomatoes, peppers etc. In fact the only things she doesn't eat are the runner beans which are too high.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there! Great to have news from the shady (but lovely) side of the valley - maybe that accounts for the strawberry sizes. Mind you, they are often nicer when small, like bilberries as opposed to those great bloated, watery blueberries the supermarkets sell. I had to look up Schnautzer. I thought maybe it was some kind of vole.
All warm wishes and good trapping. M