Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, near Yate and Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire.

The Nature Reserve is run by the Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, a small group of volunteers.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A tale of two species

On our meadow walk we came across two species that complement each other nicely, the six-spot burnet moth and the bird's foot trefoil.

Bird's foot trefoil, with its attractive yellow flowers, is a favourite food source for the burnet moth caterpillar.

 The caterpillar becomes a pupa in preparation for its transformation into the adult moth.

A discarded pupa case after the moth has flown

The adult six-spot burnet moth

As the bird's foot trefoil ages it turns gradually from yellow to red,
hence the common name "eggs and bacon"

Finally its three leaves start to resemble the toes of a bird's foot,
hence the name "bird's foot trefoil"

(Photos by Isabel Ryan) 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Excellent meadow walk - orange tails, diamond backs and adder's tongues

Meadow surveyors at work!
We had an excellent meadow walk and survey on Sunday  23 June led by Rupert Higgins of Wessex Ecologicla Consultancy, who wrote the Five Year Plan we currently use to manage Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve. We saw everything from micro-moths and orange-tailed bumble bees, via hairy sedge to a diamondback moth, a migrant from North Africa or the Mediterranean. Unfortunately we saw very few butterflies, mainly meadow browns. Probably it was too cloudy for other species that were in evidence the following day, which was sunny.

Meadow brown butterfly

Our find of the day was the adder's tongue fern, which usually has only one leaf plus a single tall spike bearing the spores. This uncommon fern is said to be a good indicator species of ancient meadows.

Adder's-tongue fern
We have quite a few more interesting photos to show, so we'll post them here over the next few days.

(Photos by Isabel Ryan and Paul Hulbert)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New look for the Orchard for the Future

Deer damage to the bark
of one of our fruit trees

The new look - mulch mats
and wraparound guards.

Sharp-eyed visitors will have noticed some changes to the young fruit trees on the Common. Firstly we've put some mulch mats around the trees to stop competition from grass - we're letting the grass grow long to provide a habitat for small mammals such as voles, which will eventually become "owl takeaways" if we manage to attract some owls to the woods.

The mats are completely biodegradable. They're made from a mixture of recycled jute and cashmere hair, needled onto a hessian backing. As the mulching mat material degrades, nitrogen and other beneficial elements will be released to benefit the growing plants. The mats are held down by recycled plastic pegs, but these are fully biodegradable too.

We've also had to deal with a problem of deer nibbling the bark of some of our trees. We've fitted wraparound guards to the main stems of the trees and we've painted the upper stems with a deer browsing deterrent comprising clove and almond oils. Hopefully they won't be as attractive now as an overnight snack.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Summer South Gloucestershire Walk, Sunday 30 June

South Gloucestershire is fortunate to have some very picturesque countryside and our experienced guides, Richard and Pauline Wilson, will be taking us to the Golden Valley area near Wick in the south of the county. Please wear walking boots or other stout footwear and please note that ample free car parking is available
at the Wickwar Road car park.

Meet for a car share at the Clock Tower, High Street, Chipping Sodbury, 2.00pm.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Summer Meadow Flower Walk, Sunday 23 June Wapley

We shall be having a walk around the meadows and woodland to have a look at the different types of summer wildflowers that are on display. Do come along and learn more about our native flora and there will be plenty of interesting insects too. Please wear walking boots or other stout footwear.

Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the woodland, south Yate, 2.00pm.