1 Jul 2015

Oops! Sorry by Keith Fowler

The Wall, Wednesday 24th June

Seven of us gathered amongst the farm buildings at The Wall, situated to the north of Kynnersley. 

We were welcomed and given an introduction to the farm. This was followed with a warning about bulls in fields (must include in the risk assessment!). An offer was made to move the bulls but we agreed to avoid the places where they were.

Just as we set off an eighth member of the group arrived. Oops! I had forgotten Lorna was coming. 

Lorna tried to save my face by blaming herself for being late, but I had forgotten. SORRY!

We started in the meadow behind the farmhouse. The previous day a group of botanists had swarmed over this meadow so we were happy to follow in their footsteps to avoid further trampling.

The meadow was on a dome. Looking south from the edge you can just make out the Wrekin peeping over the horizon. The meadow provided plenty of interest for the plant hunters but was surprisingly devoid of visible insects.

From the meadow we travelled along the road to the north to enter a second meadow. Along the way we were accompanied by a flotilla of Yellow shell moths. On the road side there was an Elder which seemed to acting as an aphrodisiac for a swarm of males of the long-horn moth Nemophora degeerella.

Once in the second meadow we found the going hard as we had to forge our own path through the lush vegetation. However this gave us plenty of excuse to stop frequently and look for invertebrates. 

And we had to keep alert as Clegs were about.

A stream runs along the side of the meadow and the Great Spider Hunter almost disappeared into it as he chased and caught a long-horn beetle. This turned out to be Stenocorus meridianus.

The beetle was very friendly and posed for photographs before taking its leave.

We continued our merry way through the meadow, then another until we came to a third meadow with a recently excavated pool and a wooden building. The building was open and inside were some chairs. What a great place for lunch we thought.

We had lunch.

I have visited this site two or three times before. When I was last here about two years ago the pool was new and was not particularly interesting. Now, however, the vegetation had developed, Some areas were lush, some of the bank was bare and, as can be seen from the above photograph, vegetation was emerging from the water. 

We watched Black-tailed skimmers; the males darting about and the females ovipositing into the water.

A toad was found surveying his toaddom.

We spent a long time looking around the pool and its marginal vegetation. 

All good things must come to an end so we moved on to the next field which borders a wetland. We did not enter the wetland as we had been told that this was where one of the bulls was sited. After much searching the bull was located and it was, thankfully, a long way away!

Having meandered through the field we found ourselves back at the road which we followed back to the farm. Here we were able to use their education centre to have a sit down, do some identifications and enjoy the tea and biscuits that had been provided for us.

So and excellent finish to another excellent day at an excellent site.

My thanks to The Wall for allowing us to visit and do what we do and for their hospitality.

Keith Fowler