19.0612. Nature Notes #5
I took a morning away from Frodsham Marsh and I went for a hike to Pale Heights with ‘Sparky’ at Delamere Forest. Walking up the road to the hill I saw my first European Hornet in Cheshire! The creature was most impressive and lingered only briefly before flipping over the hedge and lost to view.
If you’re out and about this week keep an eye on the wasps you may come across one of the above?
On an additional note on 21.07.12. I was topping up my birding credit by taking Sparky and her mother out for the day at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, Cheshire. At some point during the day my second Cheshire Hornet actually landed on me and flew to nearby blooms before moving on! You wait all your life for a Hornet in Cheshire and two come within a month!
European Hornet (from BBC Nature)
The European hornet Vespa crabro, commonly known simply as the “hornet”, is the largest European eusocial wasp. The queen measures 25 to 50 mm (1–2 in) long; males and workers are smaller. In males, as in most members of the Aculeata, the antennae have 13 segments, while in females there are only 12; also as in other aculeates, the male abdomen has seven visible segments, while the female has six; females possess an ovipositor modified into a sting which is not barbed. See wasp and bee characteristics to help identify similar insects.
This species will sting in response to being stepped on or grabbed. They are also defensive of their hive and rather aggressive around food sources such as lilac bushes. Care should be taken when encountered in these circumstances as they may sting without warning. The pain from the sting may persist for several days with attendant swelling.
Additionally, one of my favourite woods here, held several emerging Stinkhorn ‘eggs’ and tall shafts…”ooo-err missus”! Joking apart the folklore surrounding this distinctive fungi species is fascinating and some of the names are enough to make anyone blush. A cracking lifeform (excuse the pun) !
All fungi images by WSM