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Posts tagged ‘Paul Darby’

Pure gold

the goldsmith, carabus auratus

The goldsmith, Carabus auratus © G.Bohne

I often meet up with Paul Darby ex Wiltshire Wildlife Trust for a pint and a bag of twiglets and inevitably our conversation turns to wildlife. Recently he brought along a couple of his old insect books. In one, entitled Beetles of Britain and Europe – a rather slim Longman Nature Guide dating from 1986, I was intrigued by both the changes in taxonomy and by some of the common names. Many like the common name for the metallic green-gold ground beetle The goldsmith Carabus auratus, and ‘devil’s coach-horse’ for the large black rove beetle Ocypus olens I’m familiar with but others like wool beetle, bladder beetle and and bacon beetle were new to me. Read more

Winter Trees at Ravensroost Wood

Paul Darby

Paul Darby carefully cutting a few twigs for identification purposes

Although I’m not exactly a dullard when it comes to identifying our native British trees, there are rather a lot of them. So when the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Paul Darby sent me an invite to join him once again for a morning Identifying Trees in Winter he didn’t have to ask twice. I can tell an Ash from an Oak, identify Hazel, Alder, Beech, Horse Chestnut, Field Maple, Sycamore, Walnut, Hornbeam, Yew etc and can separate Hawthorn from Blackthorn even with no leaves. I can even identify some less obvious ones like Spindle but, where I struggle is with the tricky little blighters like the Willows which so often hybridise. Our venue for the day, Ravensroost Wood, proved to be a great choice as it contained many of our original native species like Wych Elm, Guelder Rose, Aspen, Small-leaved Lime and the rare almost Rowan-like Wild Service-tree. Read more