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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wed 28th July 2010 - Mill Copse, Yarmouth.

A slightly unusual time of the year for us to visit Mill Copse, again helping the rangers Richard and Nick. Two major tasks - the first was to spread eight tons (and yes we did finish it all!) of limestone chippings along the rides, and rake it all out neatly. This was done in areas which are usually muddy in the winter and have deep ruts in them; the chippings help to fill in the ruts and improve the access for all users of the copse when it gets wet and muddy. The second was in an area where hazel slips had been planted in around 2004, and are thriving very nicely; however, the understorey of nettles and brambles has grown up and is starting to swamp the fledging hazel trees, so this was all cleared to help them grow bigger.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

The wildlife in this week’s images are a bit small - many apologies but trying to get grasshoppers and butterflies to pose nicely is always a bit of a challenge! The first find was Meadow Brown (Maniola Jurtina), a common and familiar butterfly of rough grassy places, overgrown road verges, waste ground, woodland glades, heaths, downlands and gardens. It is on the wing from early June to mid-September, and they eat smooth meadow grass and various other meadow species. The male’s upper side is dark brown with a single black eye-spot surrounded by orange; the female larger and brighter has the orange extending into the hind wing. Eggs are laid among grasses, and the caterpillars are green and covered in fine white hairs; they feed by day when young, hibernate through winter, and feed again by night the following spring.

The second find was a Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus Parallelus) - they usually have very short wings, which makes them unable to fly, although long winged individuals capable of flight do occur sporadically especially in hot summers. Their colouring is varied usually some shade of green but often brown, while females can even be a plum or purple colour. Its song is a burst of 10-15 irregular chirrups, lasting a few seconds and repeated at intervals. It is a grasshopper mainly of long grass whose eggs are laid in summer in the soil, hatching the following April. They become adults in late June, and usually survive until about October depending on the weather.

This week the text and some of the photographs are from Carrie - the others from Eddie. Many thanks to both of them for making this blog page possible.

Terry's Photo Gallery.

And....finally....a big thanks to Terry for the stunning wildlife shots above.

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