Monthly Diary 2024

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May 2024

Orchid

A May post would not be the same without a photo of some orchids! If you're a regular visitor to the Green, then you will know that the orchids are now flowering and are looking wonderful! If you want to find out more about the orchids (and lots of other things), then don't forget that Jane will be leading a walk, in conjunction with the Lichfield Wildlife Group, on Saturday 8th June at 10:00. Meet in the football field car park and hope to see you there!

common blue

Sadly there haven't been that many butterflies on the Green this year, but butterfly numbers do seem to be down nationally, due to the wet and cold weather. However, I was delighted to see a common blue resting on a buttercup the other day. Just look at those markings on the underwing! Aren't they beautiful?

tadpoles

There seem to be a huge number of tadpoles in the brook this year and the other day, the area by the pipe was just covered in them! I'm not quite sure if they are from frog spawn that was laid in the brook, or whether they have been washed down from further upstream. Whatever the reason, they are a very welcome addition and the heron is already eyeing them up for when they get bigger!

April 2024

peacock butterfly

It's lovely to see more butterflies out and about, now that we are having some warmer days. Apart from the orange tip, I have also seen quite a few peacock butterfies. This one caught my eye feeeding on a dandelion and as you see it has lost some of its hind wings and is looking a bit scruffy. This is because peacocks over-winter as adults and emerge in the spring to mate and lay their eggs. This adult probably emerged last August, over wintered and is now looking for a mate. So I think you will forgive it if it looks a bit scruffy.

jackdaw

Peek-a-boo! Look whose making a nest in a crack in one of the trees on the edge of the Green! This jackdaw was very busy bringing in twigs as well as some softer nesting material. They usually pair for life and a number of them can be seen in the woods on the Maple Hayes side of the Green. Did you know that the collective noun for jackdaw is a “clattering” or a “train”?

alter leaf beatle

If you've been past an alder tree recently, you may have noticed lots of small black shiny beetles on the branches and leaves of the trees. Well, this is the aptly named alder leaf beetle which amazingly was considered to be extinct in the UK until its reappearance in 2004. Since then it has spread across the country and is now seen in large numbers.

March 2024

wood anemone

I was hoping to have seen a brimstone butterfly by now, but unfortunately, with all the cold and wet weather, that hasn't been the case! Nevertheless and definitely as good, is the wood anemone that is starting to flower. This plant is normally associated with woodland (there is an amazing display at Hopwas Woods) but we are fortunate to have a few small clumps growing on then wet side of the Green. The flowers are just beautiful and definitely one of my favourites!

female reed bunting

Well, last month I gave you a male reed bunting, and this month here is the female. As you can see she is not as showy as the male, having more brown plumage and in fact looks a bit like a sparrow. She was also being a little bit camera shy and wouldn't come out from behind the bramble! I spent quite a few minutes watching her being guarded by a very attentive male and fingers crossed they will have a successful breeding season.

Scheduled Ancient Monument Abnalls lane

How about a bit of history for a change? Whilst taking photos of the Green with the drone last month, we also managed to get some cracking photos of the site of the moated medieval manor, which is in the field next to the Green close to Abnalls Lane. You don't really get a feel for the site from the ground, so its great to get an aerial view and be able to see the moat extending all the way around where the manor once stood. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and dates to 1294, when Thomas de Abbenhall was in residence. More about the site can be found on our website.

February 2024

male reed bunting

I do love reed buntings! These little birds live and breed on the wet side of the Green and in a bird survey, which we did a few weeks ago, we counted five males ... and there maybe more! This is great news as reed buntings nationally underwent a dramatic population decline in the 1980s and 1990s but fortunately their numbers have increased in recent years. They are still not out of danger though and are Amber listed (species of concern but which have not yet become critically endangered). The fact that we have such a healthy population of reed buntings on the Green highlights the importance of the wetland habitat and why we need to manage it appropriately.

drone shot of Pipe Green

This is a rather different view of the Green and certainly gives an alternative perspective to things! A friend of the Trust kindly offered to take some drone footage a few weeks ago and I'm thrilled with the results. Not only are the images fascinating in their own right but amongst other things they give excellent detail on the different types of habitat that we have on the Green. Plus you can also see where the puddles are!

talk

A date for the diary — come and find out more about the fascinating history, ecology and management of Pipe Green! Jane will explain how the Green has changed over the last 200 years, what amazing plants and animals can be found, how the land is managed and what challenges the Trust faces. The talk will then be followed by a guided walk of the Green on Sat 8th June, to see, amongst other things the beautiful orchids (and maybe the odd bee orchid, if we're lucky!)

January 2024

hairy curtain crust fungus

In last month's post I talked about hairy curtain crust fungi (Stereum hirsutum), and if you wondered why it is so called, then I think this close up photo will explain why. Firstly, it has a very hairy upper surface, giving it a bit of a lovely furry look — who'd have thought that some fungi have hairs! (In contrast the under surface is very smooth). Secondly, the orange brackets have a wavy appearance, which look a bit like a partially drawn curtain. Thirdly, it belongs to a group of fungi that are called "crust" fungi. If you look closely you will see that the fungi is growing directly from the wood and does not have a stem — this is a characteristic of crust fungi. So really, the name of this fungi really does describe it very well!

little egret

I'm delighted that the little egret has spent most of the winter on the Green and the surrounding area, including Beacon Park. The other day, it was focussed on searching for food and it was quite fascinating to watch. The egret was standing very still but then would do a puddling action with its feet, which stirs the sediment in the brook and dislodges any prey, which it then catches with its long beak. Wonderful to see!

Dunnock

Another bird that is quite common to see along the hedgerows of the Green, is the dunnock or hedge sparrow. This little bird also frequents gardens but it is often overlooked as it has a browny grey plumage and skulks around in the undergrowth. However, when the sun comes out and lights up it's feathers, I think you will agree that the plumage is rather spectacular. I just love the markings under the eye - very handsome indeed!