Hunting WaspsWednesday 5th July 2000
IT LOOKS SET to be the dullest July on record. Tall grasses and Stinging Nettles line the towpath. Wall Barley and Cocksfoot grass grow on the disturbed ground by the bench, while tall False Oat and fine purplish feathery Bent grass grow by the path alongside the brambles and tall nettles.
I sit on the bench and watch the grasses for a few minutes, just to see what might turn up. A brown hunting wasp hovers by the leading leaves of some Bramble shoots. It is dumbbell-shaped; a rounded thorax then a long waist to its abdomen.
One of the nettle leaves is curled. It is probably a tent, held in position by strands of silk, made by the caterpillar of the Red Admiral. Its relatives the Small Tortoiseshell and the Peacock also feed on nettle, but they feed as a group.