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Wildlife sightings 2015

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September
During a recent working party at Jubilee Green, while scything and raking up grass, we discovered some fungi that we hadn’t seen there before. These were wax caps or members of the Hygrocybe family. One, with a red cap was, we think, the Fibrous Waxcap or Hygrocybe Intermedia. There were several others which, after some debate, we decided were the Golden Waxcap or Hygrocybe Chlorophana. Wax caps are not uncommon and often grow in short cropped turf so it was quite unusual to find them in long grass. We also disturbed a slow worm resting in the long grass and it is good to know that they are living on this site.

Not long ago, in the main orchard wildlife area, we also found several slow worms happily basking inside a plastic compost bin where they were obviously enjoying the heat generated there. On the same day we saw a couple of dragonflies swooping over the pond. These were Southern darters making the most of a sunny day. Lots of pond skaters on the pond and lots of grasshoppers in the longer grass. If the weather stays warm, they will still be active into October.
Gill Massey & Paul Arthur
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2nd June
Over the last two weeks several dragonflies have hatched out from their larval stage. The empty larval cases have been seen on the leaves of some of our water plants. Hopefully they will continue to use these and not try to hatch in the grass in front of the pond as they did last year, putting themselves in danger of being trodden on.
I haven’t been lucky enough to see the adults emerging but assume they will be the Broad Bodied Chasers as last year.
Our tadpoles are still thriving in large numbers. Many of them have now developed back legs and are well on their way to becoming little frogs.
A week of so back I saw a number of baby grasshoppers jumping about in the long grass in the wildlife area. The yellow rattle there and in the main orchard is flowering well at the moment, and hopefully is working on subduing the more vigorous grasses. The amount of rattle flowers should mean that we will have lots of our own seed to sow later in the year.
We have dug out the old bog garden next to the pond which wasn’t working very well, lined it with a perforated pond liner, and refilled it. An overflow from the pond has also been established, and we hope that more water will be retained to make it more boggy! We have replanted our meadowsweet,creeping jenny, yellow flag and purple loosestrife, all of which appear to be doing well.
Gill Massey

15th March
We were very happy to see lots of frogspawn in the pond today. Spring has definitely sprung, as apparently earlier in the day there were some frogs mating there as well, so we have high hopes for some tadpoles and froglets later in the year.
Also very pleasing is the appearance of yellow rattle seedlings from the seed we sowed last autumn in the main orchard and wildlife area. Yellow rattle is a native wild flower, and, once the plants grow bigger, they will be semi-parasitic on grass roots and weaken our vigorous grasses enough for us to put in some wild flowers to increase the biodiversity, as well as please our bees and other insects.
Thanks to Gill Massey & Paul Arthur
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12th April
The yellow rattle we sowed last autumn is coming up like mustard and cress in the main orchard and wildlife area. Jubilee Green also has some germinating. So hopefully this will weaken the grass in these areas enough to let us plug in some wildflowers.
The pond is teeming with life, most noticeably lots of wriggling tadpoles enjoying the spring sunshine. Their parents are still around in the pond too. Also sighted among the pond plants were several newts. A regular visitor to the pond said that he counted 10 a few days ago.
Several little white patches visible on the pond liner were investigated by Jenn Baker and turned out to be water snails’ eggs, probably from the Ramshorns snails, as there were a lot of these about. I saw my first pond skaters on the pond surface, and a few whirligig beetles doing what their name suggests. One or two water boatmen swimming around, too.
Gill Massey
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