Children are fascinated by plants and wildlife – just ask anyone who has turned out their toddler’s pocket to find a dozen acorns, a leaf, a handful of whirligigs and a dried worm. With our unseasonably hot start to autumn, staff at the London Wetland Centre have observed some fascinating rare occurences in nature:
It is rare enough to see a Deptford Pink in bloom as these nationally scarce plants are hard to find, but to discover one blossoming into October is unheard of. These delicate pink flowers usually come out in June until August but at WWT London Wetland Centre they enjoyed a second burst as England ’s summer finally arrived, albeit rather late in the year. The weather is on the turn, so you’ll need to be quick if you want to catch a glimpse of these rare blooms.
Frogs croak their confusion
The unusually hot autumnal weather has caused confusion amongst the flora and fauna at London Wetland Centre. This time of year, marsh frogs should be sitting at the bottom of a pond preparing to hibernate. Instead, their cackling croak has been heard ringing across the water, normally indicating that they are seeking a mate or staking out their territory.
Every frog loves a water lily but it is a highly unusual occurrence for the white variety to start coming into flower in October as has recently been noted at the Centre.
Other unusual sightings
Other unusual sightings include the thermophilic wasp spider – a species which enjoys warm temperatures – and long-winged cone-head bush crickets, plus large numbers of shield bugs, caddis flies and grass hoppers. And the electric buzz of the Roesel’s Bush cricket is a sound that normally resonates across the grasslands in high summer; it’s not a sound that’s been heard in October at London Wetland Centre, until now.
Why not head out to your local woodland or marshes and see whether you can see or hear anything unusual!
If you’re in London, this is a great opportunity to spend a fascinating family day out with your nature loving children at the WWT – but you’ll have to be quick!
Many thanks to WWT for the details and beautiful images.