Look back at …September 2020
Aspen Pigmy, various sites- 6th-27th September
Intrigued and inspired by some photographs I saw online in 2019 I decided I would have a more concentrated effort to attempt to find a leaf-miner on Aspen. I had a short opportunity in 2019 but I fear I missed the small opportunity by several weeks and was too late for Stigmella assimilella.
I already knew of a couple of sites that Aspen was growing that might yield potential, so that was to be my starting point. Two small sites around Rogiet I certainly felt there was great potential. However my first attempt was disappointingly fruitless and left me wandering if it was actually here at all at this site or even present in the Vice county. (I'm still unaware if it has been seen even to this day in the county as I've not forwarded to Sam Bosanquet as yet.) After wading through some awkward scrub and bramble I was left puzzled as I felt this was the best chance. Perhaps it was timing again, maybe I was too early this time. A slow drive back home to reset my thought process would help I hoped. Two days later on the 6th I returned to the same site and as I parked up, other small developing Aspen suckers came into view. I scanned these, but no luck. Then I decided to go down another side lane and more were here. This time I walked straight to the tree that contained mines, at last!
Three mines in one leaf, one departed but two small developing larvae.
Exactly a week later the 13th, another site a mile or so away, another attempt was undertaken. Conditions were very difficult again with brambles and tall nettles a hazard in order to try thoroughly search this small site. Spending over 30 minutes here I did managed to grab another example of an larvae on aspen, this time getting close to the point of exiting the leaf.
Two weeks later on the 27th after trying this site twice before, I returned another positive result.This site was much easier to access than the previous and I spent much less time finding another occupied leaf. Three sites in four weeks was very pleasing. A lesson that I have certainly learnt over the last few years is to be patient and persistent, for timing can be key.