What’s New in East Finchley

Dear Readers, I always find that the jet lag when I’m travelling east is much worse than when I’m going west – I couldn’t keep my eyes open during the Coronation, but then come bedtime I’m pinging around the room like a pinball. One trick is to get out early (ish) in the morning so that the sunlight and other people’s pheromones can help the body to resynchronise its rhythms and so, bleary-eyed and in need of caffeine I headed out onto East Finchley High Road. But what is this?

A pollarded tree

Yes, a whole lot of pollarding has gone on in spite of it being spring and the trees no longer being dormant but starting to leaf up.

An unpollarded tree

I’ve rattled on about this kind of thing before (very recently in fact) and I have no problem with management of street trees – better that they’re trimmed than that they get blamed for subsidence and cut down (don’t get me started). But I am keeping an eye on this tree, further down towards to the station. See what’s at the top?

Yes, a nest, probably magpie or crow by the size of it. It’s against the law to disturb a bird’s nest, even one that belongs to such a common species. I will be interested to see if it’s left alone.

I couldn’t resist a snap of The Archer at East Finchley Station – he’s looking particularly fine in the spring sunshine. Look at those muscles! Clearly all those gym sessions have been working. He is firing his arrow along the Northern Line, and there is a legend that the arrow itself can be found at the end of the line, in Morden. The statue is by Eric Aumonier, and was unveiled in 1940

In general, things are looking really lovely at the moment – all the rain has brought a lot of plants and animals along. At the entrance to Cherry Tree Wood, this young magpie was trying to work out what was edible – s/he was very relaxed, which is unusual. I think that piece of rubbish to the right had attracted his/her attention. Put it in the bin, people!

The flowers at the entrance to the Wood are looking very fine – it’s part of the Paths for Pollinators project, and there were several honey, bumble and solitary bees buzzing around, so it’s clearly working.

There are lots of hybrid bluebells inside the wood – these tend to survive better in the drier sections of the wood, and clearly the pollinators, such as this hairy-footed flower bee, don’t care about its provenance.

The Hawthorn is in flower..

and so is the Herb Robert…

and so is the Bird Cherry – it always reminds me of fireworks zigzagging off in different directions. In previous years there have been ermine moth caterpillars here, but they’ve given it a miss this year, and the trees are looking magnificent.

Then it’s out of the wood and onto the unadopted road, a laneway at the back of the houses on Park Hall Road and Summerlee Road. It’s often been an interesting place for plants and animals, and today was no exception.

Look at this little beauty! This is a female Flower Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) – this species comes in many colours, and I’m not quite sure that this one has got that camouflage business right, though she’d do really well on some gorse or tucked inside a daffodil. They can change colour from white to yellow to green apparently, but a complete colour change takes up to 25 days, which isn’t going to be very helpful for our spider. However, her prey insects (hoverflies and bees) see colour in a different way, so maybe she isn’t so conspicuous to them as she is to us.  Judging by the size of her abdomen I’d say she’s pregnant, so there will soon be the patter of many, many teeny-tiny feet.

And this tree is looking particularly splendid – it’s a foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa), and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in flower before. I feel a Wednesday Weed coming on….

And finally, a brief word on weeds. The green alkanet is having a particularly good year – those blue flowers are so intense, and I love the way they look against a red brick wall. I know that they’re a thug but the pollinators love them, and they grow in places where other more delicate plants would give up the ghost.

And aren’t they preferable to this? Just before we left the weedkiller man came round on his little electric vehicle with a huge tank of herbicide on the back.

At least this time he spared the tree pits that people have planted up. Look at all that greenery, making food for insects and cover for all manner of little creatures! Let’s face it, we all need as much greenery as we can get.

3 thoughts on “What’s New in East Finchley

  1. Anne

    Apart from the severely pollarded trees (!) this is a joyful and colourful post – I have more to catch up on!


Leave a Reply