Tales from the Riverbank


All it takes is half an hour in the sun in early May, just a hundred metres from home, and our early morning stroll delivers a feast of wildlife delights!



Ceanothus was looking amazing, forming billowing blue clouds studded with pale gold stars, like a thousand EU flags. It may not be a native species, but it is certainly providing for our bees…

Moving to native plants, ‘Pocket plums’ – Taphrina fungal galls on Blackthorn’s developing fruit – were more numerous than we have ever seen before…. No sloe gin for us this year!

A micromoth Elachista argentella ‘unhiding’ in the grass, perhaps looking more like poo than food to a passing bird?

Sea Beet was feeding everything, from snails to dozens of Dock Bugs to 24-spot Ladybirds (one of the few herbivorous ones – are those it’s nibbling to its right? )…

And finally, best of all, quite reliable on one or two select Beet plants in early May, the incredible Neon-striped Tortoise-beetle. Two plants regularly feature them but not it seems the many others, perhaps showing just how constrained an insect’s life can be.

All these and our first Common Terns of the year clamouring upriver, and finally screaming Swifts, the wild spirits returning to the Shipyard skies.