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A walk in the sunshine

A quick blog to report on today’s walk along Roman Road/Sandy Lane, organised and led by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.  The walk was well attended and started with the usual run-down of what to look out for both interesting and things to avoid!  The short history of Scarlet Tiger Project was explained and we set off.  The heat wave continues and brings out the butterflies.  From my walks this week, it would seem that the Scarlet Tiger moths may have reached a peak last weekend and I was worried we may not see any.  However, my fears were soon dispelled when a moth fluttered up over our heads.  They really are at their best in flight, you get a full impression of their striking colours.

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Tiger moth flashing scarlet

Our next ‘official’ stop was by the gate.  Yellow Rattle is doing a good job here, keeping down the coarse grasses.  Several Skippers were flitting in and out of the undergrowth. In this area there are patches of Ragwort which provides a great source of nectar for insects and food for Cinnabar moth caterpillars.

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Cinnabar moth caterpillars – Wolves’ fans maybe?
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2nd generation Small Tortoiseshell

Just beyond the gate, lies one of the patches we sowed in the spring with wildflowers.  It’s a real spectacle of colour.

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Spot the Small Tortoiseshell hiding amongst the flowers
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One of the many Large Skippers seen on the walk

The walk continued in a leisurely manner.  When the weather is so hot and sunny, the butterflies tend to fly at speed, making it difficult, if not impossible to take decent photographs.  We saw several freshly emerged Commas, flashing bright orange in the sunshine.  The most numerous butterfly seen on the walk was the Ringlet.

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Ringlet

We then reached our second wild flower patch, again looking splendid.

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2 of our Scarlet Tiger work party volunteers enjoying the flowers

The walk continued along Sandy Lane, stopping briefly to look at the area we named Russian vine following our hard work eradicating this rampaging invader.  Everything is overgrown here but lots of interest – lots of Skippers and Ringlets skipping through the grass.

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Mullein and fox gloves at “Russian vine” bank

The project is not just about butterflies.  In seeking to enhance the area to suit the lepidoptera, we also help other wildlife in the cycle.

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Song Thrush demonstrating the technique of eating a snail
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Honeysuckle has been fantastic this year

Our walk finished following a ‘dip’ into Norton Covert, a remnant of a geological desert area, quarried for building use and now home to some old beech trees, oak, ash and the odd elm.

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Happy walkers!

Many thanks to Avril for leading the walk, ably supported by members of the party!

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Mating pair of Scarlet Tigers

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Well I had to finish with a couple of photos of the Scarlet Tigers.  They are only around for such a brief time, we need to savour this special time of year.

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