Nature Blog Network

flowering plants

Having warmed up on Sand Beds Lane (between Cowpe Lowe and Edenfield) for the plantlife survey a couple of weeks ago, I decided to use the same methods for the flowering plants on the lane.

Plantlife ask that surveyors imagine a birds-eye view of the area then estimate the % of ground covered by each plant. For the lane, that would be <30% for each of them. However plants on the lane fell into four distinct areas with some noticeable differences between them. Please note that this applies to the plants seen in the third week of Aug - plants noted earlier in the year have not been recorded on this diagram.

Of the four areas:
1. South East side of the lane before the garage: sycamore saplings, cleavers, herb robert, meadow buttercup, rough meadow grass, ash saplings, cocksfoot and broad-leaved willow herb.
2. South West side, before the houses: broad-leaved willow herb, rough meadow grass, broad-leaved dock, cocksfoot, common ragwort, creeping buttercup and bramble.
3.West side, by the houses: common nettle, cocksfoot, meadow buttercup, rough meadow grass, dandelion.
4. West side, across from Bungalow and Sunset View: raspberry, common nettle, broad-leaved dock, lime saplings, male fern, oak sapling, broad-leaved willow herb, cocksfoot, ash saplings, sycamore saplings, goldilocks buttercup.

So far, no Himalayan Balsam or Convolvulus!

lane flowering plants 400

I haven’t surveyed the Paddock/New Cross Meadow formally but it looks like mainly common nettle, raspberry and broad-leaved willow herb with a bit of rose bay willow herb thrown in.

butterfly count mark II

A second attempt at counting butterflies resulted in one small white, two speckled woods and a red admiral in the 15 minute observation period. Strange, as when I’m looking for birds there are loads of butterflies…

I also took another stroll up on Hailstorm Hill above Balladen. This was drowning in butterflies again, with over 30 small tortoiseshells and the odd ringlet, small white and meadow brown. Pity this lot weren’t on the lane.

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garden birds

We have been recording the birds in the lane and uploading the data to the BTO birdwatch survey pretty much every week this year. We have seen 10-12 species most weeks, mainly the usual suspects with the odd waxwing or other interloper.

This morning there were two. Birds that is, not species.

A house sparrow and a blackbird singing.

Now I know the fledglings have fledged from the next on Springhill Cottage’s burglar alarm and that I forgot to replenish the feeders this week but still expected more than two. No idea where they all have gone to - and most are non-migratory.

trees on the lane

On the west from south to north: ash, ash, sycamore,sycamore, common lime, common lime (coppiced), ash, common lime x3
On the east: common lime and sycamore.
There are also a number of ash, lime and sycamore saplings and a rather stunted pedunculate oak…poor thing, its under the sycamore and gets no light.
Most of these are covered by a tree preservation order. We found out about this when the council sent us four paper copies…

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big butterfly count

Settled down in my ‘sunny spot’ for the 15 min of the Butterfly Conservation Trust’s big butterfly count. This, of course, immediately triggered a complete cloud covering together with what the weatherman describes as ‘precipitation’. Despite this managed to see 4 small white butterflies in the allotted time. Casual observation over the year suggests that this is by far the most common butterfly on the lane, being joined by the occasional small tortoiseshell, ringlet and meadow brown.

Was up by Sand Beds Lane (between Cowpe Lowe and Balladen) earlier in the week for the plantlife wild flower count and noticed loads of butterflies up there on a mixed nettle/spear thistle patch. At least 8 small tortoiseshells, probably more, and a smattering of small whites and meadow browns. Why the nettles up there are tastier than the ones on the lane I’m not sure, or whether the thistles make all the difference… anyway the big butterfly count got to hear of those as well.

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