More pollinator friends, so crucial to our farming here, have emerged!
The cool, sunny spring days brought out some early butterflies, much to the delight of the wildlife group working on the flower beds at the Farm.
First, a flash of yellow darting by – a Brimstone butterfly, a sure sign of spring and the promise of more winged beauties to come! Then we caught sight of another early butterfly, the Orange-tip. Whilst the male is unmistakable, the females are more camouflaged, as is the case in many species, presenting a challenge to us butterfly spotters… Yes it’s time to gen up on butterfly and moth ID skills!
At least it’s evidence that some of the habitat we, and our neighbours, look after has provided a place for butterflies to play out their life cycle.
The Orange-tip lays its eggs in garlic mustard which is often thought of as a weed in gardens and discarded, so maybe we should follow advice and leave our gardens a bit untidier. Fortunately it grows along hedgerows which if properly nurtured provide a valuable habitat for this pretty butterfly. You can see garlic mustard growing along the hedge by our car park.
As the season moves forward we’ll be looking out for other butterflies, we’ve seen 17 different species during previous summers here.
And so to birds…..also excellent pollinators and welcome predators of pests! Not to mention providers of the Farm’s soundtrack – thrushes, wrens, chiff chaffs, green woodpeckers, robins and blackbirds are easily recognisable songsters (and a good place to start in learning songbird ID).
Swifts and swallows have now arrived too and are seen above the farm and the lake, displaying their aeronautical skills as they hoover up insects. You might also spot their predator: a bird of prey, the hobby, who’s followed them here on their migratory route in the hope of an in-flight meal.
We wait to see whether there are cuckoos around the lake this year. This is the time to listen out for this increasingly rare bird scouting out the reed beds to find foster parents for its offspring.
June is always a busy time for the Wildlife and Gardening sessions – if you’d like to join us on this beautiful site visit the Volunteering page to find out more.Annie Price, The Community Farm Wildlife Group