Ragged robin and yellow flag are now in flower in the marshy area managed as a wild flower meadow at the foot of a steep slope in Thornhill Park near Dewsbury. Around them buttercups and cuckoo flowers are flowering in profusion amongst the grasses.
Whitefly on BlackthornBlackthorn throughout the valley looks shrivelled. The nearer to the end of each twig the more the leaves are curled up. This doesn't affect the hawthorns and other bushes growing next to them.
The effect is so marked that when I first it I guess that the bushes have been sprayed with herbicide, however the herbage on the ground below remains perfectly healthy.
On closer inspection I find that the leaves are dotted with tiny whitefly. Uncurl a leaf and there are more inside. Is the whitefly the cause; is this just the effect of it feeding? Has it spread a fungus or virus? Or has it attacked an already weakened plant?
Whiteflies are tiny bugs which resemble tiny moths because their bodies are coated with floury white powder. Their greenish larvae feed on sap on the underside of the leaves. They produce a sticky honeydew.
Bird LifeAmongst the bushes by a shady path an adult calls a warning to four young wrens. Just out of the nest, they still have yellow around the edge of their bills. A whitethroat sings in its display flight from bush to bush on a grassy bank near the canal.
A more varied, not to say eccentric, song comes from an elder bush. It's only by slowly walking around the bush that I get to spot the singer; a sedge warbler.
We see our first red admiral on the towpath, a fresh-looking individual.