Took a day away from Roman Road on Saturday 14 May to join the mini Bio-Blitz day at Kinver Edge (run by the National Trust). The idea was to record all species of flora and fauna at the SSSI.
We started with a dawn chorus walk, expertly led by Tom on a very chilly morning. At one point, whilst listening out for a linnet, we were drowned out by 3 competing Willow Warblers in the trees surrounding us. The walk took us across the main heath, then through a wooded area, carpeted with bluebells.
The next guided walk, led by Ewan, aimed to find the 4 reptile species living at Kinver. By 11 am the weather was warmer with bright sunshine. We looked under various tins and roof felt left specially to attract the reptiles. No luck with the first one but we struck lucky with the 2nd one with these 2 slow worms – look carefully there are 2. It appeared that the male was holding the head of the female in his mouth.
The rest of the ‘hiding’ places proved fruitless apart from a field vole and lots of ants. Given the number of people trooping round on the walk, our chances of finding anything at all seemed rather remote but all 4 species were spotted during the trek. A male adder scooted across our path and to complete the 4-some, grass snake and common lizard were both spotted by Ewan.
(Photo shows Common Lizard basking on dead Silver Birch log)
During the walk we also spotted several Green Hairstreak butterflies plus one Small Copper. Kinver is an excellent site for Small Copper – worth remembering considering how badly they fared last year. They have both the ‘standard’ version and the variation with the small blue markings.
One of the reasons for their success must be a plentiful supply of the caterpillar food plant, sheeps sorrel. The flora contained in a small area of short heath is surprisingly varied and with experts on hand to identify them, there’s a lot to learn!
The above shows the stand with exhibits of birds’ nests, shed snake skins, a badger’s skull and information. There were also moths for the public to see and a table of microscopes with expert help from representatives from Harper Adams College to provide identification and information on all sorts of bugs, beetles and flies. In addition there was pond dipping, always popular with the children.
The day finished with bat detection and moth trapping – Dave and Cath Smith providing 2 moth traps. Unfortunately I had to leave before the finale.
All in all the day was a great success – the weather much better than anticipated – the efforts of all the volunteers greatly appreciated. And finally – only one Tiger on tour as the cub was unable to join in this expedition.