So....this year, my main aim was to keep my eyes peeled for new species but also to ensure that there weren’t any obvious or significant losses. I wasn’t able to replicate the level or breadth of coverage that I’d managed in 2014 but it was still a rewarding year. I hope you'll enjoy taking a look back with me. First up, what's new Scooby-Doo?
(not previously recorded on Trust land & all teeny weeny!)
Little Longhorn moth
Heath Speedwell &
|Heath Speedwell (Veronica officinalis) (far left, next to Germander Speedwell) & Wild Strawberries (Fragaria vesca) (right) were both newly recorded at the Brickworks in June. Both plants are UK Red Listed (near threatened or vulnerable) and although seemingly "common" locally are valuable additions
Brassy Longhorn moth
Sticking with the good news, it's on to the welcome returns...
(from my 2014 records or others' previous records)
Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca) is not an easy species to catch up with locally. It has been recorded on Trust land before but not by me. I was really pleased to come across this singing male at Bovingdon Brickworks at the end of June. It stayed a good few weeks as well
Painted Ladies &
|Throughout August more than 20 Painted Lady butterflies came through the Brickworks as well as at least one male Silver-washed Fritillary. It was also great to record a couple of Hummingbird Hawk-moths at the site
Siskins (Carduelis spinus) have previously been recorded on Trust land but, again, not by me. This year was my first sighting of them locally with numerous singles & small flocks passing through in autumn. By the beginning of December, more than 30 birds were feeding in Alders on Blackbirds Moor. Fantastic stuff!
Not photographed, but the swathe of c150 Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera) flowered on Bovingdon Reach meadow in June. A very welcome return.
Feet firmly planted in optimism, there were just 3 species to give me cause for concern...
- During 2014, I heard Cuckoos at Westbrook Hay and Bovingdon Brickworks. During 2015, I heard none
- During 2014, I found 5-Spot Burnet species at Bovingdon Brickworks. During 2015, I found none
- During 2014, the Brown Argus were flying right up until the start of September. During 2015, the spring brood was small (perhaps less than a dozen specimens) and I'm not sure if there was a second brood. It'll be interesting to see if this species is present in 2016. I do hope so
Thinking about the future, there are two very obvious species to note for 2016
- During 2015, at least 10 individual Little Egrets passed through the Hemel moors, along the Bulbourne, during autumn. At least 3 of these were young birds from the breeding colony in St Albans. It’ll be interesting to see how the River Bulbourne numbers vary throughout 2016, especially post-breeding & during the river restoration works
- Following the autumn planting of Kidney Vetch at Roughdown Common and Bovingdon Brickworks to attract Small Blues, it’ll be fascinating to see how the project progresses in 2016
Finally, a big thank you to those of you who have encouraged me, shared snippets from your own experiences and/or come alongside with kind or interested comments, either on or offline. It does make all the difference to know that the bits and pieces I put together might actually be enjoyed or be of use or interest. Thank you.