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May 2012

posted 5 Jun 2012, 09:19 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 5 Jun 2012, 09:40 ]
cows grazing

Those of you who are regular visitors, will be aware that fourteen bullocks have now been turned onto the Green. They seem to have settled down, after an initial inquisitive phase, and are eating well. The grass has finally started to grow and so hopefully there will be plenty of food for them to eat. Just please be a bit careful if you are walking your dog near them, and try not to disturb them too much.

Following on from Bob Russon's fascinating talk about the birds of Pipe Green in early May, he very kindly offered to lead a walk to see and hear some of the birds that he had talked about. Despite the rather chilly weather, an intrepid group set off to discover the birdlife of Pipe Green. We were not disappointed and under Bob's expert guidance managed to see a number of different species including a beautiful male yellowhammer, blackcap, whitethroat, chiffchaff and a kestrel hunting over the Green. However the highlight of the walk was seeing a tawny owl sitting quietly amongst some ivy in Leomansley woods. We spent a considerable time watching the owl, who in turn was watching us! Bob returned later on in the day and took this lovely photograph. The owl however does seem to have moved elsewhere but hopefully is still in the area. What an amazing sight and something that most of us had never seen before. Thank you Bob!

Tawny owl
Image  courtesy of Bob Russon, Lichfield & District Local RSPB Group

The Green is looking much more as though summer might be on its way. The buttercup, speedwell and pignut are all flowering well and make a lovely sight (when the sun is shining!). A more elusive plant that is also growing on the Green is the adder's tongue fern. Whilst it might not look it, this little plant is actually a fern and is quite difficult to find, mainly because of its size and that it is green! This plant is quite rare in Staffordshire and is an indicator species of ancient meadowland. It is so called because the central spike (containing reproductive spores) apparently looks like a snake's tongue and because of this could be used as an antidote to snake bites! I am not sure that I would put this to the test!

On a slightly negative note, with the warmer weather approaching (well maybe not this weekend) the Green is likely to have its fair share of anti-social behaviour. This generally involves excessive drinking and leaving litter/bottles lying around. Often the early morning dog walkers pick up quite a lot of this rubbish, but if you do see anything could you please contact us and let us know.

Adder's tongue fern

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