27 August 2011
I’ve been on a quest to find plausible habitats for the most interesting Box Hill species along the route to help inform the Box Hill Flickers project i’m working on.
Under the yews, I was delighted to discover the most amazing jewel-like hoverflies, nearly impossible to focus on, showing their hovering prowess by holding territory mid-air, their wasp stripes caught by the sun-though-leaves light and shadow in the yew grove.
Finding a single wild cherry on the path, reminded me of stag beetles or ‘cherry-eaters’, an old English name for them. They spend five years as larvae eating dead wood. In their beetle form they rarely eat at all as they are too busy finding a mate, though they will sup on juice from ripe fruit or tree sap if they get the chance.
Small blues are a rare and exciting new find at Box Hill. A kidney vetch flower, the food plant of small blue caterpillars, pointed out to me by Peter Creasey has became the setting for the small blue butterfly sequence.
An empty roman snail shell in the long grass conjured up the possibility of glow-worms as snails are an important part of their diet.
My next quest is to find a suitable bramble bush, accessible from the tree canopy, upon which, at dusk, you might plausibly find a dormouse eating blackberries nugget by nugget.
By Rachel Henson, artist Box Hill Flickers
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