Recorders: Claire Burton, Pauline Storie, Sam Watson, David Firth, Jill Clarke, Mary Ratcliffe, Andrew Noble, Christine Albone Distance: 2920m Walk Time 1-1.25 hr
This is a mosaic of habitats on this former rubbish tip, and railway marshalling yard, which is now a flourishing wildlife rich brownfield site. Open mostly dry grasslands provide a real chance of seeing green woodpecker and also hear them yaffle. Early summer brings the meadow areas alive with common spotted orchids and viper's bugloss. Habitats range from wetland and wildflower meadows to mature woodland.
Section 1 from the entrance goes through mature woodland with many overhanging Sallow and Grey Willow and Speckled Wood are seen along with Comma . At S2 you enter a dry grassy area and is a favourite place to find Common Blue, Small Heath, Small Copper and the Brown Argus along with Meadow Brown . S3 is a fenced off small meadow to reduce the effects of Rabbit on this the old railway sidings S3 is similar to S2 although favoured more so by Ringlets being longer grasses. S4 re-joins the main path and damp area where Orange Tip are seen. S6 has a variety of habitat in a loop and then at S7 enters woodland rides and a favourite with the Green Viened Whites, Vanessids, Orange Tips, Comma, and Holly Blues. S8 is a woodland ride with Ringlets and S9 is a hedgerow.
Section results are shown opposite:
A rather disappointing year 5% down on th 5 year average with only Brimstone and Green Viened white up and the rest of the whites down although this is following county trend . However Dingy Skipper made a spectacular return and has been doing well in a few locations where Birds foot trefoil flourishs, All the blues were down but Holy Blue stands out as on the majority of sites are way up. Common Blue in particular had another really bad year and the trend since since 2019 has been unusually rapidly downwards which could indicate site conditions. All the Vanessids were well down and, unusually, so was Comma but less so than the others down 15%. In contrast Small Torts were only an eighth of their 2021 boom count. Speckled woods who were almost universally up barely held ground. As with county trends all the browns did well particularly the Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown having record years. Only Small Heath fell back as on most sites. The real reason for the fall in numbers overall is being woodlands contains a large population of Vannessids which did particularly badly as they did not produce a second generation, partly due to the heat but also due to poor nettle quality and higher than normal parasite (Sturmia Tachinid Fly) It was simply a perfect storm!
2021 was a very poor year for almost all species. Particularly bad were Large White, Comma and Speckled Wood. In line with other transects Small Tortoiseshell had a boom year and Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown had good years. Unlike most other transects where Small Heath boomed here it had a poor year.
Numbers are a little down after the previous two excellant years. The drought of early spring 2020 may be partly responsible for some of the losses. In particular a dramatic drop in Ringlet which favours damper longer grass or shade along with Green veined white which was also well down. Gatekeeper was similarly hit along with Small Copper. The excpetional was Brown Argus and Small tortoisesheel had a bumper year as it did on many of our transects.