Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Field of Dreams

Every so often you meet someone who inspires you, and Rich Cornock falls squarely into that category for me. He loves wildlife, but instead of just sitting back and looking he and his wife Nic make it happen.
They've rented a field from the Council, with an agreement that the main area in the centre will be an organic (ie untreated) hay crop. This currently looks fabulous, especially in the early morning or evening light, with clover and corn marigolds providing points of colour and sorrel, hogweed and cow parsley punctuating the sparkling seedheads.

Wild carrot

Common sorrel

Around 3 margins there are some small stands of native trees with longer 4-10 metre strips of sacrificial seed crops for the birds - I recognised borage, phacelia and sunflowers for starters, but there was also quinoa, chicory, buckwheat and others I forget. A few cornflowers have self seeded. The 4th side is left for wildflowers, a small pond and a narrow area of established woodland.

If you know the film Field of Dreams you may remember the phrase "If you build it they will come". Too true - because the wildlife is everywhere. Even now there are small flocks of goldfinch and greenfinch using the seed margins. Rabbits graze the paths, ducking as a buzzard flies over. Iron sheets have attracted grass snake as well as the ubiquitous voles. Insects abound stretching my limited identification skills past breaking point (again):
Rhagonya fulva (the bonking beetle) were everywhere

Why bonking beetle?
Small skipper (I think - skippers can be a bit tricky for me)
Large, small and green veined white abound, with speckled wood on the wood margins. Also peacock, small copper and common blue - but they all evaded the lens.
Large white

Small white

Green veined white

Speckled wood

Small heath (I think) - with dew. 1 drop forms a tear - you'll need to view the web album!

Gate keeper - 2 spots in the scent scale area

Meadow brown - 1 spot - (female, then male, then a male in flight with a Helophilus hoverfly)

Helophilus sp

Unknown hoverfly sp Scaeva pyrastri

Melanostoma (?) hoverfly sp. with a fabulous metallic thorax

Lacewing (with a little added colour to try and boost the lace!)

Unidentified sawfly sp.

Meadow grasshopper
At first I had this down as a damsel bug, but I don't think that's right. Just wouldn't stop moving! [Subsequently identified as Miridius quadrivirgatus - thanks to a brilliant bug website with much better pictures than this - www.britishbugs.org.uk]
My old favourite; greenbottle
Flesh fly (how can something this pretty have a name like that? Just look at that checkerboard abdomen)

According to my books this could be called the black form of the large red slug, or the black slug. Anyway it's black with some red. And big.
In many ways it's not fair to talk of dreams here, because he and Nic have done it. No doubt there is more to come over the next few years - perhaps even realising the wider dream of a network of similar 'micro-reserves'. Hell it's even got Kay and I talking about doing something, although we can be better at the talking than the doing!
And there's more come here about Rich's field when we look at the birds ......... but that's a tale for another day.

Read more about Rich and Nic's work on their websites HERE and HERE

The insect pictures in particular look much better at larger size -
check the 'latest pictures' web album HERE and use the slideshow.

1 comment:

Midmarsh John said...

Goodness me - what a fantastic variety of insect life. It just shows what can be done. Lots of small areas like that around the country would really make a difference to our wildlife.
Terrific macro shots.
The group of barn owls is a real taster for the birds yet to be seen.