Robin’s pincushions are growths on wild roses caused by a tiny wasp. The grubs of the wasp feed on the host plant and cause it to produce the distinctive, often red, growths from where the leaves should be. The little wasp goes by the name of Diplolepis rosae and would be rarely recognised if it were not for the impressive galls it causes to be produced. The robin’s pincushion also goes by the less easy to remember name of the bedeguar gall. One rose in particular has been affected in a small area of woodland at the East Chevington nature reserve.
Enjoying the September afternoon sunshine in the same wood were a few speckled wood butterflies. They found a couple of late flowering ragwort to be a valuable source of nectar. This is a species that seems to have done very well in recent years and this year has been seen in almost every corner of Northumberland except for the more upland areas; ten years ago it was barely seen in the county.