Wednesday, June 7th 2023

Firstly let me thank everyone who attended yesterday's discussions about Foxglove now and in the future.  Your support, suggestions and comments were extremely valuable.  There will be more about this on a later blog.

Wishes - I wish that every living thing had a code or name tag on it, from birth!  I also wish that they could answer when questioned.  I do sometimes have a fanciful outlook about Nature!  In reality identification books and the Internet are needed, as is the help of the experts who support Foxglove and provide us with details of many species.

Derek who visited Foxglove in mid May sent these pieces of information.

Trupanea stellata - a very pretty little Picture-wing Fly - it develops in Ragwort and I found it in the “orchard” area - it appears to be new to VC65 and is a significant northern record.

Cheilosia vicina - a hoverfly found in good numbers along the beck in wooded areas. It is a northern and western species thought to breed in Lady's Mantles but also associated with Primroses.

Portevinia maculata - the Ramsons Hoverfly - on Ramsons in the wooded valley near the boundary.

In due course this information will be added to our species list which continues to grow.

Our moth trapping has been carried out for many years and the data we have is considerable.  This year we have already caught 26 Common Swifts, where as our tally is usually less than 10.  Immediately I thought that it was a specialist feeder and that the food plant had grown exceptionally well.  Not the case as the larvae feed on the roots of grasses and other herbaceous plants.  Why is it doing so well this year?

Another species that is posing questions is the Northern Marsh Orchid.  Although all orchids can be, shall we say interesting, (or should that be temperamental?) as to where they grow or do not grow.  For over 12 years our Northern Marsh Orchids have appeared in two places on the reserve.  They are not there this year, but they are in the orchard and the front lawn. 

We do not know how much effect the very hot spells, drought, lack of winter rain and the cold spring has had on our species.  Climate change is also noticeable.  Idenification books often show maps with distribution of species which clearly now are out of date, as species spread north and some retreat south.  Our species work at Foxglove feeds into VC65 records and then onto the appropriate organisations so that trends can be looked at.

Thank you to all those volunteers who spend many hours identifying, searching for, photographing and recording Foxglove's many, many species.

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