Outings for 2018

At our November meeting we shared some photos (thanks to Tess and Brenda) from previous meetings and began to plan the programme for 2019.
On 19th October we visited the woodland area of the Dudmaston Hall Estate (National Trust) to look at fungi, trees and birds. Mike guided us around and explained the plans to transform parts of the landscape.
In September we were fortunate to have a Ranger guided walk around Leasowes Park. Perry was very informative, both about the history of the Park and about the fungi, helped by David Antrobus (our group expert). We also got close to the Highland cattle, Brenda made a fuss of one while the nervous amongst us moved past without stopping! As at Kinver, the cattle are grazing in particular areas as part of the plan to restore heathland.
On 10th August we had a guided tour of the Wildflower Meadow at Ashwood Nurseries. We managed to see some butterflies, though the season is ending for some. Tom talked about the creation and sustaining of the meadow. We were interrupted by thunder and very heavy rain, but not before we had seen a young green woodpecker and a young great spotted woodpecker (on the bird feeder). The Wildflower Meadow is not generally open to the public except on John Massey's garden open days. There are also some special days when there is moth trapping and bird ringing.
On 20th July we had another guided walk, this time at Kinver Edge. It was an excellent visit, with some really helpful explanation of how and why some of the Edge is being managed to create more lowland heath. This is a habitat which until the 20th century covered a huge area of Staffordshire and Worcestershire, but was heavily planted with trees (both native deciduous and coniferous) so there were very few, small and separated areas of heathland. This is a critical habitat for some birds, lots of butterflies and moths and all the British reptiles. We were told the story of a male adder who had to travel a long distance through woodland and up a steep hill in order to find a mate! The increase of heathland will make life easier for him and other reptiles. There are some photos attached.
On 22nd June we met in Mary Stevens Park and with the help of some informative books (with very good pictures) we identified various insects/bugs (adults and larvae), as well as the galls and other damage on leaves which are caused by the bugs.
The guided walk on Highgate Common on 11th May was a great success, we had the ranger Hayley and two of her colleagues to walk with us and point out the bird and insect life on the common which is an SSI site.

No one is an expert but we are enjoying working together.