Saturday, 29 July 2017

25-7-2017 Hazelbury/Wadswick Common (& Bannerdown)

A couple of images of some male, Six Belted Clearwing moths attracted to a pheromone lure, this Tuesday, July 25th with Geoff Hiscocks and Richard Pooley. A minimum of 5 were attracted, probably at least seven. (Attracted them at both sites in 2015), I’m grateful to Paul Wilkins who kindly passed me the lure. Also a Painted Lady there. (3 Painted Lady seen at Bannerdown earlier in the day, also with Geoff).

Best wishes,
Chris Woods

13-7-2017 Hollow Marsh Meadow and Chewton Wood

On a warm summer’s day, eight members met in Farrington Gurney for a visit to Hollow Marsh Meadow. As we walked down Pitway Lane, we saw Goldfinches and Swallows and heard a Yellowhammer.  Six species of butterfly were spotted in the lane: Red Admiral, Large White, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.  In the ditch along the edge of a field, a stand of Greater Pond-sedge (Carex riparia) was seen, and a leaf collected for comparative purposes later.

Hollow Marsh Meadow is a Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve and part of Long Dole Wood and Meadows SSSI.  It is an example of unimproved neutral grassland, maintained by grazing, although there was no evidence of grazing so far this year.  Betony (Betonica officinalis) was flowering profusely, with Devil’s-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) just coming out.  Many different species of grass were found in flower, and we soon added Marbled White, Small Skipper and Green-veined White to our list of butterflies.  A ditch crosses the meadow, where we saw Purple Loostrife (Lythrum salicaria), Fool’s Watercress (Apium nodiflorum) and Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga).  A large stand of Lesser Pond-sedge (Carex acutiformis) was examined, and the ligule compared with of the leaf from C. riparia.  A patch of Dyer’s Greenweed (Genista tinctoria) in full flower was admired and a few plants of Saw-wort (Serratula tinctoria) were found.  The western end of Hollow Marsh Meadow is clearly more acidic, supporting Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) and much Tormentil (Potentilla erecta).  We found a single plant of Sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica) and many more leaves of Saw-wort.

The adjacent field, Long Dole Meadow, is part of the SSSI and is maintained as a species-rich hay meadow.  It is a stunning sight, purple with Knapweed, Devil’s-bit Scabious and Betony: it was thus disappointing to find that it had already been cut for hay, probably the previous day!  A remaining corner indicated just how attractive it had been and here we added Silver-washed Fritillary, Peacock, Comma and Speckled Wood to our butterfly list.

After lunch, we set off to explore Chewton Wood.  Along the main ride, stunning patches of Wood Vetch (Vicia sylvatica) were seen.  The rides are maintained with wide verges, providing a diversity of flowers to encourage insects.  We saw ten species of butterfly along the main ride, adding Brimstone and Holly Blue to our list, as well as Scarlet Tiger Moth.  Pausing at a junction we watched a family of four busy little Wrens.  A mycological diversion was provided by a patch of grass found to be suffering from Choke: white mycelial collars which form around the tillers, later turning orange as they produce spores.  A whitethroat was singing as we left the wood.  Returning along Pitway Lane, we added a Small Tortoiseshell to our butterfly list, taking the total to 16 species plus Scarlet Tiger Moths.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

22-7-2017 BANNERDOWN COMMON, Batheaston


Female Silver Washed Frit

Mating Small Coppers
Brown Argus, showing ID pointers on underwing

Photos,Thanks to GEOFF HISCOCKS

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

7-11-2017 Chris Woods post.

A pair of Scarlet Tiger, that I thought were colourful in the garden from the 27th June (this year). They seem to do well here in Thickwood, I’ve had them in the garden every year for a good ten years now. 

 Social pear sawfly - Neurotoma saltuum at Hazelbury  June 26th .

Thanks for the Post Chris

Friday, 7 July 2017

1-7-2017 National Meadows Day

National Meadows Day at Midford.

On the morning of a day that started cloudy and became increasingly sunny and warm, Rob Randall, Terry Doman and Alan and Marion gathered together in ‘the garages field’, a brook-side meadow owned by the Avon and Tributaries Angling Association (ATAA). The ATAA are intending to develop this meadow into a nature reserve, with the help of information about its biodiversity supplied by members of Bath Natural History Society’s Biodiversity Study Group. Earlier in the year we had made a baseline survey of the bryophyte diversity.  On this occasion we intended to make a similar survey of the diversity of vascular plants, prior to helping with a ‘natural neighbourhood watch’ meeting for members of the public in the afternoon. These baseline surveys provide us with a sound basis for recognising changes in biodiversity at a site over the years, and how these changes may be related to management practices. Rob set off on his own to do a ‘walkabout’ survey, while Alan, Marion and Terry did a quantitative survey of plants identified in twenty 50 square metre plots, with the aid of two walking poles and a dog lead. As expected, the highest species numbers (up to 33) were found in plots along the margins of the meadow, while nearly 80 species were recorded overall.  Amongst these were some beautiful patches of Meadow Barley (Hordeum secalinum).
In the afternoon an enthusiastic group of around twenty of us gathered. For our first treat, we listened to Maurice Tennenhaus and his fellow fishermen, as they identified the living creatures that exist in Midford brook and go mostly unseen by us humans.  A fishing net was used to sweep samples from the brook.  These samples were then placed in a white tray filled with water, so that Bullhead fish, Damselfly nymphs, worms etc., were easy to see, this made identification easier.  All these creatures were then counted and recorded as proof of water quality. We then looked at examples of the varied flora that we had identified during the morning, and especially enjoyed the abundance of butterflies (including Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Marbled White, Comma, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell) visiting the stand of four different thistle species along the east margin of the meadow. One of these butterflies remained very still as we approached, and the reason for this became clear when we got close: it had been bitten by a beautiful Crab Spider lurking within the flower-heads.

Alan Rayner

Bullhead fish in sampling tray (Terry Doman)

Red-tailed Bumble-bee, Meadow Brown and Small Skipper on Creeping Thistle (Terry Doman)
Meadow Barley (Marion Rayner)