Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Summer at Feckenham

Now that summer is well and truly with us the reserve is looking very good. 

Firstly the meadows have been mowed and bailed and these are soon to be taken away. We have the Galloway's back in the southern end and they will be moved around in the next week or so. Our Roving volunteers visited last week and spent the day mowing and raking off the western end of Middle Ley Close. 

Our Sedge Warblers are still singing in the reed bed as are the chiffchaff and whitethroat. On Sunday we had a pair of Cetti's warblers singing in the alders. 
  There have been some interesting insects about and these two longhorn beetles (Rutpela maculata) were spotted making the most of the sunny day. There are literally thousands of grasshoppers and coneheads in the un-cut meadows. 

This wolf spider was busy carrying her young around on her back; I counted around 50 babies on this one.

Butterfly numbers are quite good but the strong winds over the past weeks have meant that there have not been so many seen on the wing. We did, however, have our first marbled whites for many years. Apparently these are having a good year in general. 

Dragonfly and damselfly numbers are good and last week we saw our first emerald damselfly this year. I am hoping that white-legged are going to turn up in the next week or so. Black-tailed skimmer and emperor are also active around our ponds.

 Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Silent auction update

Progress has been quite slow on the painting I'm doing to celebrate the 25th year of the Tiddesley Wood Open Day - I have to fit in painting this picture with other work.  Researching some of the subjects for the vignettes around the central image also takes quite a while.  But it's starting to fill up.

I'm not too keen on what I've done so far - but don't let this put you off as I am very rarely happy with what I paint or draw.

I'm now in the process of adding a noble chafer beetle and a white admiral butterfly.  Tiddesley Wood is one of the few sites in England where noble chafers are found - they love old orchards and the one at Tiddesley is perfect for them.

(By the way, can anyone tell me what kind of pear is grown at Tiddesley before I have to bother Harry Green - again)?

Harry has very kindly sent me plenty of reference material for the noble chafer and is looking forward to my depiction of it.  Thank you Harry.

I hope to keep you updated on the progress of the picture - and I hope it encourages you to bid for it and raise some funds for the Trust.

Valerie Briggs

Monday, 25 July 2011

Fun at Smite

A great time was had by all who attended the Worcester Group guided tour of Lower Smite Farm last Sunday afternoon, 17th July. 

We were especially delighted to welcome some members who hadn't been to Smite before (including Valda the retired guide-dog!) and very fortunate to have Steve Bloomfield as our guide. He shared his wealth of experience and knowledge with us as we explored the many different habitats at Smite: arable fields, meadows, hedgerows, orchard, ponds... 

Steve explained  how farming for profit can go hand in hand with conservation and looking after our wildlife and we learnt about how wildlife at Smite has benefited - skylarks, frogs, great crested newts, dragonflies, finches, bees, grasshoppers, hares, butterflies, you name it!..... wonderful stuff! 

The rain decided to bless us just as we were passing the bee hives and making our way back to the farm ... which made the tea and cake waiting for us all the more welcome!! 

A big thanks again to Steve and also to Zoe, who was brilliant at organising the event. As one lady commented - "what a super afternoon!"

Sandra, Worcester local group

PS For those of you, like Valda, who haven't been to Smite before then why not pop along between 11 & 4 this coming Sunday (31st) when there'll be a Farm Fayre full of local produce and craft stalls, guided walks, pond dipping & tractor rides!!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Nature in Art

I visited Nature in Art last week (Twigworth, just south of Tewkesbury) to see the Artists in Residence: Worcestershire's Valerie Briggs and Trevor Smith.  I was delighted to find Val working on the big picture she is giving to the Trust  to help raise funds and celebrate the 25th year of Tiddesley Wood Open Day.   

Centrally the picture shows springtime coppice and bluebells in Tiddesley Wood and is to be surrounded by twelve vignettes of Tiddesley Wood's wildlife through the year.  Val finished the central picture that morning and was working on the first vignette of a blackcap singing amongst wild service tree flowers.  The finished picture is going to be a stunning tribute to Tiddesley Wood.   

It is to be sold by Silent Auction so you can have a go at purchasing a local picture by a nationally known artist who lives locally!  If you are successful (there is a reserve price) you will also help fund the work of the Trust.    

You can see Val's other pictures on the Worcester Bevere Gallery web site.

Val told me that she will update you all through this blog on the progress of the painting as she continues working on it.

Good luck! 

Harry, Tiddesley Wood