On 30th May 2006 Butterfly Conservation purchased the western half of Prees Heath Common and set about restoring the site for the benefit of wildlife and visitors, so this year we are celebrating the reserve’s 10th birthday. We decided to hold a Family Funday BioBlitz in partnership with the Meres & Mosses Landscape Partnership Scheme to show how the site has improved for wildlife and how it is now such an enjoyable place to visit.
The event was very successful, the sun shone and 45 people came. A huge amount of wildlife was seen, from wildflowers to insects, from birds to pond creatures, from reptiles to rabbits, totalling over 200 species. Highlights included:
- 3 Micro-moths that have not been recorded on the reserve previously
- A Wolf Spider at its only known site in Shropshire
- A Silver-studded Blue caterpillar attended by ants
- Several Common Lizards basking on the concrete
- A Dingy Skipper butterfly, a first sighting of this species since purchase
- A Water Scorpion and a Water Stick Insect in the pond
After the wildlife watching we provided a BBQ and then members of the Shropshire Astronomical Society set up telescopes for some planet gazing. Here are some photos.
|Prees Heath 10yr BioBlitz|
|Pond Dipping (Kirsty Brown)||Cinnabar moth (Kirsty Brown)|
|Water Scorpion (Kirsty Brown)||Silver-studded Blue caterpillar (Stephen Barlow)
|Green Tiger Beetle (Stephen Barow)
||Looking for the caterpillar (Kirsty Brown)|
|Mother Shipton moth (Kirsty Brown)
||Heath Dog-violet (Kirsty Brown)|
On other matters, two Brown Long-eared Bats were found roosting in the former RAF control tower by a representative of the Shropshire Bat Group. This is the first confirmed sighting of bats roosting in the building since the reserve was purchased, and will have implications for public access. The bats were located behind panels installed by our volunteers. A group of air traffic control trainees from RAF Shawbury visited the building in April.
The volunteers have been busy clearing birch saplings from the corner field and removing ragwort rosettes. Some repair work has been completed to the access track, but this remains a continuing area of concern for us as it is the third time since purchase we have done this and potholes re-appear all too quickly.
Prees Heath Warden
Butterfly Conservation West Midlands Branch