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June 2018

posted 4 Jul 2018, 03:12 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 4 Jul 2018, 03:13 ]
cattle in stream

Well, the cattle certainly know how to keep cool in this hot weather! Whilst it is lovely to have some sunshine, the lack of rain has meant the grassland area of the Green has dried up at an alarming rate. Not only is the dry grass a worrying fire hazard, but it also means that there is a lot less food available for the cattle. Fortunately, there is still some grazing available on the margins of Leomansley Brook and on the damper side of the Green. Hopefully we will get some rain in the near future!

bee orchid

June has been a very busy month. Not only did we have our evening walk with Lichfield Discovered (very enjoyable it was too!), but Staffordshire Wildlife Trust spent two mornings this month surveying the plant life of the Green. I was lucky enough to tag along and it was very interesting learning about some of the less obvious plant species of the Green (hairy sedges and the difference between red fescue and sheep's fescue!). We did find some more bee orchids, which brings the grand total this year to 3! Whilst that is a bit disappointing, it was encouraging to know that the survey recorded just under 60 plant species on the grassland side of the Green, and 72 species on the wet side. There will be some overlap of some of the species, but even so it means that we have in the region of 100 plant species growing on the Green - a great result!

small white

Many butterflies can also been seen flitting around the Green at the moment. In particular, there are quite a number of small white butterflies and some of these can be seen congregating on the side of the muddy pools (provided your dog doesn't disturb them before you get to the puddles!) This behaviour is know as mud puddling and the mud is though to be an important source of salts, especially sodium. Seemingly butterflies loose a lot of sodium during reproduction, and so this mud puddling is important way for them to increase their sodium levels. They can also feed on dung and carrion to get their nutrients - haven't seen any on the cow pats - but I will keep a look out!