An early start was needed to reach the Nipstone Rock car park for the designated meet time. It was pouring down as I collected others on the way to the site. It rained almost all the way there, even though, at times, we travelled along sunlit roads. But there was a nice rainbow to admire.
The rain stopped as we neared the site and, apart from a few spots, it stayed dry and mostly sunny until it was nearly time to call it a day. Once again the weather provided us with a window of opportunity to do our thing.
Nipstone rock is an area of heathland that was planted with conifers in the 1960s. The trees were felled early in the 21st century and the heathland has recovered.
As always we started in the car park where we found a shieldbug nymph in the heather which may have been a Heather shieldbug or a Gorse shieldbug (what was it doing in the heather). The jury is out on this and it has been referred to a higher authority who may be able to determine which it is.
As we made our way up the lane a gorse bush became the centre of attention as the paparazzi gathered around it.
Their and their cameras’ focus was on a number of gorse seed heads that were covered in Gorse shield bugs in various stages of their development from nymph to adult.
The verge of the lane up which we were progressing provided many items of interest for anyone interested in insects, fungi, plants and mosses. One club moss, sorry I do not know its name, was quite common.
And one of the group found a ladybird that we see all too rarely, a Hieroglyphic ladybird.
Unfortunately the Great Spider Hunter was unable to join us on this adventure so, needless to say, spiders and harvestmen were out and about in great numbers. I will not attempt to name definitively the spider in the photograph but it looks suspiciously like a garden spider – I await enlightenment!
An as yet unidentified but distinctive larva attached itself to the sleeve of one of the group. Can you identify it? If so please let me know.
|Editor's Note: I think it's a Pebble Prominent moth. Foodplant; Sleeves!|
Like last week the window of opportunity came with a stiff breeze. We sought shelter for lunch. As we huddled in the lea of the tree lined bank of the path I knew a decision had to be made. I stood up and addressed the group.
“Who would like to go to The Bog, who would prefer to stay here?”
When the rather childish sniggers had died down it was clear that we were ready to move on.
We returned to the cars and transferred to The Bog car park. The Bog, or Bog Mine as the brown direction sign more decorously calls it. is the site of a former lead and barytes mine and village which has regenerated into heathland and grassland as well as retaining some relics to remind one of its past.
We explored. Early findings were a couple of lichen that had produced fruiting bodies:
We made our way to a marshy area where we spent a while doing what we do. A few spots of rain were felt; then a few more; then rather a lot more. We decided that discretion was the better part of valour and called it a day and headed to The Bog visitor centre for tea (or coffee) and cake.
Unfortunately as we refreshed in the visitor centre the rain turned into a monsoon. There was no escape, we had to return to the cars at some point. I had just about dried out by the time I got home. But the rain failed to spoil yet another excellent day.
Thank you to the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Shropshire Council for giving us permission to do what we enjoy doing.