Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Partnership in Practice

Another visit to Brockholes - this time to accompany some of my colleagues from A Rocha UK. We were continuing the survey of hymenoptera we had started last year.Whilst waiting for them to arrive I had the regular skylark plus the addition of six whimbrel calling as they flew over. At the start of the survey I was distracted by two wheatear very close to us. We continued towards the river already having spotted a social wasp. Then with sand martins chattering above us we inspected a clump of a oil seed rape where we found red-tailed bumble bee, honey bee and a bumble bee bombus pascuorum . We also managed to startle a brown hare. Continuing our search past some field wood-rush, we examined a south facing bare patch and found the following
   I am not the expert but I think this is the nest of a mining bee. We then arrived at the song thrush anvil I had passed a few times previously and was informed that the shells were from the brown lipped snail. We were now amongst several clumps of cuckoo flower so were not surprised to see several orange tip butterflies. Walking north along the Ribble Way which bisects the reserve, we heard and saw blackcap, chaffinch, whitethroat and tree sparrow. The ground ivy had also put on a good show. Just before the start of Boilton Wood we paused for refreshment. This enabled us to allow some wildlife to visit us. More orange tip, peacock, small tortoiseshell as well as a buzzard were some of these. We did find an orange tip egg on one of the leaves of a cuckoo flower. I encouraged our guests to enter the wood to view the bluebells. Today it was not only the blue but also the perfume of these flowers that delighted all of us. Even Chanel would not be able to compete with nature's bouquet. We skirted the edge of the wood examining the field margin and were delighted to see a large red damselfly, a year first for all of us. Being careful not to disturb lapwings and little ringed plovers we then surveyed part of the edge of the lake.  There was a plethora of St Mark's fly as well as several wasps which seemed to be either mating or fighting. One was then trying to dig below the surface seemingly to lay eggs
Soon after this it was time for me to leave, but my friends continued their quest. They plan to visit twice more this year and then a report will be presented to Lancashire Wildlife Trust. I checked my field notes once I arrived at home and saw I had noted down 27 Orange tip butterflies

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