Habitats and their Inhabitants
Wednesday, September 16th 2020
Dragonflies and damselflies were hawking over Plover's Pool. Their flight amazing to look at. One settled and stayed settled! A photograph was taken and it was a Black Darter. It was first sighted in August 2003 in the Scrapes. This is only the eleventh time it has been recorded.
Plover's Pool is an ideal habitat for 'damsels and dragons', as it has plenty of vegetation for both adult and larvae to shelter in and climb up as well as mud banks on which the adults can sunbathe.
At the other end of the moor Spigot Mere is also attracting its fair share of 'damsels and dragons', although it is a different habitat, with much less vegetation, however the Pillwort that was transplanted here a few weeks ago is doing very well.
Along the banks of one of the streams in the Scrapes Devil's Bit Scabious grows and at this time of year attracts many butterflies, including the Brimstone. These butterflies hibernate over winter and can be seen nectaring during spring before laying eggs for the next generation.
The Scrapes is a series of ponds running through Willow Carr. This area has to be managed carefully with the willow being cut on a rotational basis. Unfortunately some of the open areas amongst the ponds are colonised by invasive Silver Birch. On one of these Birch, Sawfly larvae were feeding on the leaves. The eggs are laid at the top of the branch or stem and the larvae eat their way down! When relaxed and feeding they lie or curl along the leaf edge.
When threatened they move quickly, wriggle and form an S shape.
At the lake, the grass on a sloping bank is cut short so that the wildfowl can come out and feed. The seed is scattered and then the person doing the feeding is watched and when judged to be a certain distance away the Mallards and Moorhens come out and feed.
Each habitat, whether large or small, is carefully managed for the benefit of its flora and fauna.
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