Friday, 18 May 2012

The Beauty of the Knapp

Last Sunday, I was at Knapp & Papermill Reserve for the monthly work party. A lovely hot day, it was perfect weather for photography so I snapped a few shots of the gorgeous green winged orchids. They are looking beautiful in Big Meadow at the moment so worth checking out if you have time! 

I also photographed a lovely bee buzzing around the alkanet at the picnic area and was pleased to discover, from the warden Fergus, that it was a tree bumblebee Bombus Hypnorum, a non-native that arrived in Worcestershire in 2008 and nests in trees. A nice spot and worth sending in to the records centre. 

Oh, and I did quite a lot of volunteer work whilst I was there as well. :) 


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Orchards in Martley

We had a great evening on 3rd May listening to John Edgely give a very informative talk on orchards. It was lovely to see some new faces at Martley, even on such a wet evening! 

It was slightly different from our normal talks as we got some invaluable advice on how to manage orchards. It’s obviously interesting to know what wildlife is associated with orchards but management is key to making sure this valuable wildlife resource isn’t lost through neglect. We picked up a lot of advice about pruning individual trees but John also covered managing the sward to increase the species diversity as well as improving the hedgerows both for biodiversity and for the fruit trees themselves. I know I took away some very useful tips that I will be using when pruning the couple of fruit trees in my garden!

It's all quiet now for a month or so but we'd love to see you at our Moth Night on 7th July or the moth and butterfly day on 8th July, both at Monkwood.

Poppy, Worcester local group

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Fabulous Knapp & Papermill

At very short notice, because of the illness of the advertised speaker, Garth Lowe gave the Malvern Group an interesting talk on our much loved local nature reserve, the Knapp and Papermill at Alfrick.

Garth has lived near the Knapp all his life, and was once the warden, so he knows every inch of it as if it were his own back garden. The Leigh Brook runs through the reserve and floods from time to time, in 2007 so severely that a bridge and the bird hides were swept away and banks needed major repair work. Volunteers regularly help to manage the reserve with whatever maintenance work is needed. Very recently a new study centre has been built near the warden’s house at the entrance, complete with a purpose built bat loft – let's hope it is soon occupied.

Garth regaled us with pictures of the wealth of wildlife he has seen at the Knapp. If you visit you're likely to see many of the common birds - long-tailed tits, nuthatches, treecreepers, great spotted and green woodpeckers, buzzards and perhaps a sparrowhawk. Garth has unfortunately noticed a decline in some species, including marsh tits, bullfinches, pied flycatchers and spotted flycatchers. The kingfishers still nest in the river bank, although the location has changed. The moorhens have gone, probably because of predation by mink. 

The flowers are spectacular, especially during spring in Big Meadow, which is full of hawkbits, oxeye daisies, yellow rattle and several species of orchid. Surprisingly, a Southern Marsh orchid appeared a few years ago and has now hybridised with the common spotted orchids. Butterflies appear on sunny days – holly blue, comma, red and white admiral, speckled wood, to name a few, but the numbers of small tortoiseshell are declining. 

The 70 bird boxes in the reserve are used by birds, bees, hornets and even dormice! There are two badger setts and the ponds are full of frogs, newts and sticklebacks. Otters are present but rarely seen.

The next meeting will be on September 6th when Patrick Clement will talk about the Magic of Moths.  There's a summer full of events - take a look at our website

Alison, Malvern Local Group