Sunday, 2 May 2010

A Walk to the Wet Wood

The warmth of the last days has set off the grasses at last. I am not good at the identification of grasses, but suspect that this is sweet grass (Glyceria maxima). As you can see, something has been grazing it. If it weren't for the fact that the far side, which is hard to reach from the landward side, is next to deep water, I might have suspected the roe deer. In fact I think beavers have grazed this grass.

The leaves don't look it particularly, but the blades and stems are delightfully tender.

I should make the effort and return with a book to identify the grass for once and all. Interestingly this grass is grazed, but the abundant and nearby reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) is not grazed at all. I see from the entry for reed canary grass in Wikipedia that the leaves contain N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a naturally-occurring psychedelic drug of the tryptamine family. Perhaps that is what is discouraging the grazers?

The beavers have been busy in this area, extending their dam in different directions to create a cross road of canals.

Here is a bifurcation near the previous photograph.

Bernd Heinrich (in the introduction to his classic work 'Bumblebee Economics') has placed bumblebees in the context of beaver wetlands and made me aware of those insects' tendency to the boreal landscape. Here is the first one that I have managed (or tried) to photograph this year.

I hope that the honeybees in our wall will come out when the weather warms up.

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