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Thursday, 15 April 2010

Wed 14th April 2010 - Medina Valley Centre, Dodnor Newport

Back again at Medina Valley, continuing with previous tasks and undertaking new ones. An area near the car park required some extensive weeding and raking over in preparation for the sowing of grass seed. The area seeded on our previous visit is already starting to grow nicely. Work continued on digging up bramble from the chalk grassland, and more big posts were put in for the placement of information boards. One of the large trees was damaged during the winter snow and had to be felled. It has since been cut up into pieces, and our final task was to transport the cut pieces by barrow and trailer from the area by the river up to the back of the centre, to be stacked into piles ready for use in their wood burner.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

Lots of exciting finds this week - Dactylorhiza fuchsia (Spotted Orchid) and while our image only shows the leaves, it will have lots of small pink flowers growing in a dense spike. Each flower is about 15mm diameter with a typical orchid shape and marked with purple spots. The leaves are broad and marked with wide purple spots, and it is usually found in marshes, meadows and other grassy places. Next we have Ground Ivy (Glechoma Hederacea) whose common names include Alehoof, Creeping Charlie, Catsfoot, Field Balm, Run-away Robin, Gill-over-the-ground and Tunhoof. The flowers are blue or bluish-violet to lavender, and are usually seen in the Spring. It thrives in moist shaded areas, but also tolerates sun very well, and is a common plant in grasslands and wooded areas or wasteland. It also thrives in lawns and around buildings. Our next find was a beautiful Hawthorn Shield bug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale), whose chief food is haws, but adults can over winter on a diet of leaves, and individuals can be found on many potential food plants including pedunculate oak, sessile oak and whitebeam. The may grow up to 17mm long and are camouflaged in shades of green and brown. Their backs consist of a hard carapace which protects the wings underneath, hence the word “shield” in the name.

Many thanks to Carrie for the text and photographs this week.

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