Meadow flora – now the sheep are gone
The current landowner has been happy to keep sheep out and allow us to make some detailed surveys of the flora, the insect and bird life. We have been surprised by the existing biodiversity. Thus far over 140 plant species have been identified – not bad for just three acres. This is largely because the field splits into a number of differing zones, relating to the likelihood of flooding.
Some areas are wet much of the year, and there we’ve found floating sweet grass, water forget-me-not, water mint, hemlock water dropwort and fool’s watercress.
Other areas are seasonally underwater for 4-8 months and many of the plant names for obvious reasons begin with ‘marsh’; marsh marigold, marsh cudweed, marsh foxtail, marsh yellow-cress and marsh bedstraw.
Several indicator species (known as axiophytes) have been found including both Changing and Creeping Forget-me-not and Marsh speedwell.
View of the meadow
Beetles and bugs
Around 45 different species of insects have been recorded in the meadow this year thanks to the ID skills of Caroline Uff (County Recorder for Beetles) and Ian Cheeseborough (County Recorder for Bees and Wasps).
There were six kinds of Shield Bug including the rare Tortoise Shield Bug. This has been recorded in the Wyre Forest but is a new arrival to South Shropshire. The nymphs do indeed look just like tortoises.
And the Four-banded Longhorn Beetle is a very splendid and unusual beetle. It was seen 4 years ago and this year several adults were found, with evidence they were breeding nearby in a fallen willow log.
Four-banded Longhorn Beetle
Nymph of Tortoise Shield Bug
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