Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits LNR
I thought the Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits deserved a special mention this month. It has been looking particularly impressive the last few months and the combination of rain and sunshine has done wonders for the vegetation. Steve Parkes has done a great job in organising the work parties and guided walks for different groups. Flowers have sprung up in a recently coppiced area of Hawthorn and birdsfoot trefoil has begun to establish itself in several places, which is good news for a possible resurgence of the Common Blue butterfly. There have been several sightings of males, so what we really need is a female to lay some eggs.
At our last work party we had a quick look for White Letter Hairstreaks and were disappointed not to see any – they are difficult to spot, however. We thought maybe they hadn’t emerged yet. The following day, on a return to the reserve, we spotted about 14, 3 of which were on the same thistle. Once you get your ‘eye in’ it is amazing what you can find. The orchids have done particularly well this year and Steve attempted to photograph all of them to try and establish their numbers. A painstaking business counting them, but he estimated there were up to 800 in total!
A big thank you has to go out to everyone who helps out at the site and we are pleased to have some new faces lately!