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Snakeholme Pit Blog 2017
October 11th: There were a few Ash trees that had now got quite big and were shading out parts of the reserve. Enter Steve, stage left, with chainsaw and "Hey Presto" - problem solved.
October 7th: Day mostly fine but rain started later in the afternoon. Thought I would be on my own for the Workday but all the volunteers arrived at the same time and he parked behind me. Managed to get the bank cut and cleared away before taking down some ovehanging branches at the far end of the Reserve. We also cut back a few more Bulrush in the pond meadow.
A Robin watched us work and a Grey Heron was seen in the distance.
September 27th: Ideal afternoon for raking off the cuttings from the meadow previously cut by Colin. Four volunteers put in a lot of effort and managed to complete the task, thankfully, as rain was forecast to arrive overnight.
Still a few things about, Green-veined White and Comma in butterflies, quite a few Darters in dragonflies, some Shaggy Inkcaps in fungi and a pair of Pheasants.
September 20th: Colin came and cut the meadows, rain being forecast overnight. Still some Red Admirals, Speckled Woods and various Whites about as well as numerous Dragonflies. Several Shieldbugs about, Green, Hairy and Red-legged among them. Slugworm larvae of all 3 common sawflies were to be seen. These were Caliroa cinxia, cerasi and annulipes. There was also a Robin's Pincushion (also known as the 'Bedeguar Gall') a gall caused by the larvae of a tiny gall wasp, Dipoloepis rosae.
September 13th: Morning not too bad, odd spot of rain but sunny intervals, the main problem was the wind. Quite a few Red Admirals about, they had a particular fancy for the apples Derek had left out. They were constantly harassed by a Hornet. Speckled Wood, Small and Green-veined White were also on the wing.
A few larvae about, Vapourer Moth and Caliroa annulipes, Caliroa cinxia and Nematus pavidus in the sawfly line. A Dark Bush-cricket posed on a leaf as did the nymph of a Green Shieldbug.
30th August: Luckily there was a gap in the afternoon between the rain showers to get a little work done. While James mowed the paths, Derek & I tackled some of the overgrown and encroaching scrub.
Only a solitary White on the wing in the conditions but quite a few larvae, mainly sawflies but an odd Herald Moth and Vapourer.
25th August: Derek reports......."Numbers of most species in decline after a week with some very heavy showers. It has also finished the flowers of most nectar sources. I did manage to record 73 butterfles, the White ones most numerous - 15 Small White, 9 Large White, 3 very fresh Green-veined Whites and 6 pristine Brimstone busy nectaring mostly on Purple Loosestrife. Still 10 Red Admirals, a few Peacocks and 6 fresh Small Tortoiseshell's, mostly feeding on the Buddlia and Devil's-bit Scabious. Brown Argus and Common Blue still around in low numbers. The brown species nearly gone over, only two Gatekeepers and two Meadow Browns seen. On a plus side four late brood Speckled Wood."
24th August: Phil Lee wrote: "I spent an hour at Snakeholme Pit after visiting the Brown Hairstreaks at Chambers Farm Wood and I was amazed at how many Small Red-eyed Damselfly were on the floating vegetation. I saw at least 10 along with Southern, Brown and Migrant Hawkers, Common and Ruddy Darter and Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselfy. Butterflies included ."Peacock, Speckled Wood, Comma, Brimstone, Small White, Common Blue and Brown Argus."
12th August: Derek reports that the metal thieves have been at it again. They took the signs from the gate and must have used bolt croppers to take the locks and chains as well. Still a lot of sick people out there.
1st August: A nice sunny morning was the reason for an impromtu workparty as Derek has family commitments tomorrow afternoon when it was officially to take place. The usual work of cutting the paths was augmented with a patch of meadow being brushcut.
Quite a few butterflies on the wing including Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone, Painted Lady, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and all the 3 common Whites.
5th July: Very warm day and the recent weather has certainly suited the Meadowsweet which has grown rampant in both the meadows.
Derek managed to cut the path sides sufficiently to allow the mower access. Plenty of Meadow Brown, Ringlet,Gatekeeper, Whites and Red Admiral. Nice also to see the Small Tortoiseshell is having a good year. Brown and Southern Hawker on the wing and still a couple of pairs of Banded Demoiseselles about. A Vapourer moth larva was seen on one of the Sallows.
7th June: A brief respite in the wet weather meant that Derek was able to cut a bit more of the hedge. Male Orange-tip, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral on the wing. Also seen were Yellow Shell, sawfly larva and a couple of brimstone larvae. Chaffinch was singing away and a Kingfisher flew over the water.
1st June: Tehani Cawdell spotted a Large Skipper in a brief visit yesterday.
May 31st: Lovely sunny day again and vegetation piling on growth but managed to cut the paths.
Derek reported from his morning transect....."4 Red Admiral, 1 Large White, 2 male Orange-tip, 4 Brimstone (3 male and 1 female) and 2 fresh second brood Speckled Wood. It was really pleasing to see dozens of damselflies pairing near the pits edge but the highlight was seeing three very fresh Banded Demoiseilles, two near the stream and the other one on section 9."
Additionally in the afternoon there was a Four-spotted Chaser. Other afternoon highlights included a resting Eyed Hawk-moth adult and several Burnet Moth larvae.
May 24th: Lovely sunny day but unfortunately few butterflies on the wing. Only Orange-tip, Brimstone and Green-veined White appeared to be making the most of the weather. Quite a few Red and Azure Damselflies about, many of the Azures paired up. Numerous nymphs of the Dark Bush-cricket and a couple of Small China-mark moths. Three more adults in the moth line were Latticed Heath, Small Yellow Underwing and Common Carpet with a Vapourer larva on the Oak. Nice to see the Ragged-Robin in flower. Other insects included Green Shieldbug, Wasp Beetle, Longhorn Stenurella melanura, 14-spot Ladybird, Malachite Beetle and the folded-wing cranefly Ptychoptera contaminata.
May 18th: Pleasant day but few butterflies. Orange-tip, Brimstone and Green-veined White seemed to be the only ones around. Still, a few damselflies about, mostly Azure, Blue-tailed and Large Red. Beetles included Red-headed Cardinal, Tortoise (Cassida vibex) and a mating pair of Rufous-shouldered Longhorns. Although Mark Johnson recorded Horned Treehopper a couple of years ago todays was the first I had seen. Few birds about, Mallard on the Pit and Pheasants wandering the meadow. A nice Yellow-tail larva on the hedge.
28th April: Grass was a bit wet but a decent day after the showers to get the paths cut and trim a bit more of the hedge.
Surprisingly only a green-veined White on the wing. The usual Mallard on the pond and the Cowslips in the meadow are looking splendid. Cuckooflower is also showing well. Quite a few insects out now with Alder Fly, Dark-edged Bee-fly, Red-and-black Froghopper and nice to see the Six-spotted Pot beetle again. There was a Green Shieldbug, micro-moth Adela reaumurella flitting about and several early instar nymphs of the Dark Bush-cricket basking in the sun.
23rd April: Derek Fox reports.......A lovely warm sunday afternoon though not many butterflies on the wing.Eleven seen of six species recorded. Two Brimstone, one male and one female - she was egg-laying on the large Buckthorn near the main gate. One each of Comma,Orange-tip and Green-veined White, two Speckled Wood near to the streams bridge and four Peacock. They was busy nectaring on a large area of Bugle on section five, adjacent to the pit. On section six, a large Grass Snake was basking in the sun on a pile of old dead grass. Adders-tongue showing well and in the small meadow, hundreds of Cowslips also coming into full flower.
6th April: Derek Fox reports..... A good start for the first week of recording. Eight butterflies seen - 5 Peacock,1 Male Brimstone and two very early records, one very fresh Speckled Wood and a Green-veined White, both at the sheltered end near Snakeholme Farm bridge.
The Blackthorn is in full blossom all over reserve. Also in flower is Celandine, Bugle, Greater Stichwort, Dandelions and Violets (section 6). The cowslips are also starting to open. Chiff-chaff and Willow Warbler were singing in hedgerow.
March 24th: PeterCawdell reports......Sunny afternoon but cool wind. Several clumps of frog spawn at the water's edge and 1 frog spotted. A Peacock butterfly flying near the gate. Everything about to burst into life.
March 22nd: Not the best of days but the rain held off long enough to get the bank areas brushcut and raked off.
Spring flowers starting to show with Colt's-foot and Celandine. Robin everpresent as work took place and a pair of Mallard on the pond.
March 7th: Beautiful blue sky and temperature pleasant, a sign that Spring is just around the corner. The Reserve is still quite wet but the lake and dyke water levels are reasonable. Flowers starting to appear but only Dandelions out. 2 Woodpeckers hammering away across the road in Stainfield Wood and a Roe Deer skulking in the field across the dyke.
To see news and sightings from 2016, visit the archive.