Strange findings at Fishponds.

Despite the cooler weather and more frequent rain that September is bringing, it hasn’t dampened the girl’s appetite for being outside, riding their bikes and exploring the fields. The hunt for feathers still endures, but sightings of butterflies and discoveries of new meadow flowers have all but ceased as the cooler weather sets in. Instead, we’ve been searching out nuts, acorns and pinecones. And it was on one such mission that Maddie noticed strange things on one of the oak trees.  It looks like some of the acorns are wearing hats.

IMG_2466 IMG_2473 IMG_2469The smooth, green acorns, have grown quite large, orange and red, peaked extensions. We don’t know what it is. We’ve only seen it on two of the trees, and they are on opposite sides of the fields. Any ideas on identification would be much appreciated.

As we were pondering this weird acorn mutation we noticed another strange sight in the long grasses beside the tree. It looks like some form of spider’s web and as we inspected it further, we were expecting to see it full of hundreds of spiderlings. Instead it was full of grass seeds. It is a truly amazing work of (I’m guessing) insect workmanship. The web looks so fragile but is holding safe the stash of seed.

IMG_2476 IMG_2488

Two days later and it’s still holding strong.  I’m not convinced that it’s the work of a spider, as my limited knowledge of the natural world doesn’t know why a spider would need grass seed, but I can offer no other explanation to Maddie as so what it might be. Again, any suggestions would be welcome.

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