Mill Hill: Reservoir Page

14 September 2005
After a search lasting ten minutes, I could not find the Autumn Lady's Tresses, Spiranthes spiralis, in the same area as yesterday.

Rabbit Droppings and
Autumn Gentian
Stemless Thistle Seed Head
Round-headed Rampion
Autumn Gentian 
before flowering

The habitat was similar (but not identical) to the lower slopes with prostrate Horseshoe Vetch leaves and the following other plants in flower: Autumn Gentian (over 100 plants*), Eyebright, Stemless Thistle, Hawkweeds, Round-headed Rampion, Small Scabious, Milkwort, Yellow Wort, Carline Thistle and Bird's Foot Trefoil in the short herb (with Plantain and Burnet Saxifrage leaves) and grass area. There were lots of rabbit droppings and three ant's nests. (*this number may stretch the boundaries of the patch to include the plateau to the north where this plant was numerous this year.) There were leaves of Yarrow and many other herbs.
This small beetle crawled over the herbs, grass and rabbit droppings just north of the Reservoir, Mill Hill

It was not measured so its total length of 17 mm is a rough estimate only.

The habitat contained Yarrow leaves, the reported food plant of this beetle.

The beetle in the photo is certainly Galeruca tanaceti. It feeds on Tansy and possibly Bedstraws too, as far as I can tell. I would say Galeruca is uncommon.

ID and comments by Max Barclay
ID also by David MX Green
on the British Beetles Yahoo Group
13 September 2005

I am not surprised that I missed the Autumn Lady's Tresses, Spiranthes spiralis, on previous visits as this orchid is very much smaller than expected and already past its best. There were three plants seen in the short grass and herbs just north of the Reservoir on Mill Hill. 

The photograph above shows the general view of the short herbland. 

Back to Mill Hill 2005