EVENTS

Members Reports and Photos

SATURDAY 19 april  2014            

LEADER: DAVID nASH

TURVEY GOLF COURSE, DONABATE

Invertebrates

It was a sunny day with a cool south-easterly wind and insects were active in warm and sheltered areas. Three species of shieldbug which had overwintered were found in abundance mainly on Gorse Ulex europaeus but also on surrounding plants including Alder Alnus spp. and New Zealand Flax Phormium tenax in the shrubbery near the club house. They were very active in the sun.

[True]Bugs have traditionally been classified as belonging to the insect order Hemiptera and the sub-order heteroptera because of the differences in structure and appearance between the forewing and the hindwing, the former being membraneous and the latter ‘waxy’. Shieldbugs have a proboscis called a rostrum which is used to imbibe sap, the majority of the species being vegetarian.  The species seen were the Gorse Shieldbug Piezodorus lituratus normally seen on Gorse only, the Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina and the Hairy/Sloe Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum . The latter two species were also seen on deciduous vegetation in a meadow. Adults shieldbugs only were observed but eggs can be difficulty to locate. Hawthorn Shieldbug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale was looked for without success on one of its Cotoneaster foodplants.  Seven-spot Ladybirds were plentiful and a smaller number of the tiny 22-spot were observed. One caterpillar of the Drinker moth Euthrix potatoria, which feeds on grass, was spotted. Badger faeces confirmed he importance of beetles in its diet.

One buzzard was hovering high overhead and also a Sparrowhawk. The latter was mobbed by Mistle Thrushes which were plentiful on the golf course.   A Cuckoo was heard but not seen. The course which was abandoned some years ago but it is still possible to identify some of the greens which are distinguishable by their finer Fescue grasses. The bunkers were beginning to be colonized and in some area coarse grasses such as Meadow Fox-tail Alopecurus pratensis and Cock’s-foot Dactylis glomerata were becoming the dominant grasses. Ramsons Allium ursinum was coming into flower in the woodland and was signalled at a distance by the smell of Garlic. Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata was scattered along shady banks and woodland. Cowslip Primula veris was evident along the steep bank at the edge of the artificial hill created by the dumping of spoil from the port tunnel. The residue of the former walled garden was too overgrown for easy access but a row of Lime trees (Tilia) and the occasional parkland oak were indicator of a former glory. Turvey House – a 17th Century building - was finally demolished in 1987.

The water hazards showed very little signs of insect life although a small range of aquatic plants such as Water Plantain Alisma plantago-aquatica were emerging. Colonisation appears to be quite slow for both plants and animals.

Along the boundary, next to the track to the hide there were numerous elms of varying age and there was evidence of Dutch Elm disease’s ravages and of regeneration by suckering. A few of the Elms Ulmus spp. had quite prolific young fruits - often the behaviour of stressed trees. Blackthorn Prunus spinosa blossoms were at their best. The sharp ears of one member detected a family of Pygmy Shrews which was too shy to make an appearance for those of us who had gaps in our audio spectrum.  

 

        

                                                                            former Turvey Clubhouse                            abandoned Fairway

             

   A.                                                             B.                                                     C.

A. Hairy Shieldbug      B.22-Spot Ladybird C. Green Shieldbug 

     

Cardamine pratense                                                 Gorse Shieldbug                                 female Orange-tip

     

Badger faeces                                     Drinker Moth                                                  emerging Ants

 

Drinker Moth

 

vegetated Tunnel Spoil                                                                      Prunus spinosa

abandoned Green 

     

Elm                                 Ground Beetle                                                     Elm fruit

                                            Photographs © Pat Lenihan

  

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