This is the fourth and last post on BBB09 here at Seeds Aside this year (you can reach #1, #2, #3, and even previous years following the links). Today we’ll sum up species met during a quick halt near the Couesnon river, next to Mézière sur Couesnon (satellite map).
This area is an underwood slope leading to the Couesnon riverbanks (actually, unused meadows slowing reverting to forest first). The trail begins with Apples (Malus domestica). The country is full of such trees (hedges are overcrowded sometimes), and these are mostly undetermined old population/varieties used to make hard cider (a regional specialty).
Most common local tree species are growing in there, so I count back Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur), Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa), and Common Hazel (Corylus avellana), to which I add bushes of the European Holly (Ilex aquifolium) — all Hollies had a very low reproductive success there, as I didn’t see any berry. Since the species is dioecious (males and females), this means either sex was short in the population, or that pollinators were not that interested. Actually, this is quite in contrast to a
recent population I’ve seen, where females bore thousands of fruits (another extreme for this species).
Of course, I consider many other plants to be already on the BBB list, i.e. Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum, maybe the first plant in French Brittany), Blackberry (Rubus fructicosus), Rumex species, Common Ivy (Hedera helix, the plant protected against automn sunburn), and… hum, grasses.
So the meadows transforms into underwood with sloppy slopes until the river. At places, you get cliffs instead. Best to follow the trail where it wants you to go, to avoid falling short.
Finally, there is the small river (it is very curious for sa long as it flows through northern Brittany, this river never really turns into a big one, but stays of a quite reasonnable size all way long).
Let’s enter a divide now, but an ecological, not a taxonomic one…
“The Plateau” (Things atop):
I made a stop to a flowering Common Ivy (Hedera helix, did I write it down already? Oops). This is a place to spot buzzing insects, and non-buzzing ones aside too. Contrary to previous year, I did not see any domestic bee. But I got wild ones instead. So here we go…
There was Inachis io also, a pair of specimens. But I wasn’t able to get a picture.
Then, plants. I don’t know if this one was planted or was just spontaneous, but look at these purple berries. That’s from European Spindle (Euonymus europaeus).
“The slope” (Things inbetween):
Okay, underwood species ‘n trees. Shaddy.
Notice with the previous picture that we can tell the parasiting fungus is carried through the plant with the sap, as we can clearly see a leaf infection pattern beginning with veins (and ending up with a whole white fungus coat). If it had been by air way, we would have had many circle spots (see Stachys below). Amazingly, we can also tell which of the three stem was first infected (the middle one), and which leaf on a stem is first contaminated (it seems like the top leaves in a stem get the fungus first, maybe because it is the main sap destination).
“Mean and lowly things” (The river spot):
The banks were overcrowded by Common Nettle, Blackberry and Redshank, but we already counted them here and there. I also gave up trying to catch flies, of which many Musca domestica anyway.
Now it seems few people have indulged into the Blogger Bio Blitz. If I find links, I’ll let you know… And see you next spring!