In the grounds at Ackworth School yesterday, I noticed some striking leaves on an ornamental maple tree.
Only a section of the tree is affected. The leaves on most of the tree are completely green.
I suspect that the markings are the work of a fungus that is taking advantage of the weakening state of the leaves as they begin to shut down for autumn. It will be interesting to see how the infection develops in the next week or two.
I was watching peregrines in Wakefield city centre this afternoon when I saw a bird flying over the lower end of the precinct. I saw it only briefly but I said to those around me, “I think I’ve just seen a cuckoo.” About thirty minutes later, a member of the public approached me to tell me about a dead bird that he had found next to his car, which was parked near The Spaniard. He knew that it was something unusual and he mentioned that he thought it might be a cuckoo.
I walked around to the car and I found that there really was a dead cuckoo. There were no marks on the bird and I assume that it flew into something.
I’ve spent many hours over several years watching peregrines in Wakefield and I’ve seen a number of other bird species but this is the first cuckoo that I’ve seen. How strange that it should die so soon after being spotted.
The good news is that the cuckoo will enter the natural history collection of Manchester Museum as a preserved skin. The skin will be available for people to study now and for many years to come.
I was sent this picture of an unusual bumblebee by a friend in Pontefract who found them nesting in the roof of his house. I believe that the bees are tree bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum). This species entered the south of Britain only about ten years ago but it has spread up through England and it has reached Scotland. More information is available at treebumblebee.
Tree bumble bee