Biodiversity Project News – September 2020

September….   Biodiversity Project News

The meadow faded quite rapidly as August became hotter and attention at the site now turns back to the damper meadow area adjacent to the pond and mown green.

Here, great willowherb (see right) is still flowering and has grown particularly tall in this summer’s conditions. The flowers are a lot less showy and a softer pink than the more familiar rose-bay willowherb, which is often found in drier situations and on disturbed ground.  Standing tall among the other plants are two umbellifers that look broadly similar – these are hogweed and wild angelica.

The angelica (see right) can be distinguished by its sprays of smaller toothed leaves, more domed flower heads and the striking sheath like structures from which the flowering shoots emerge, where they join the main stem. The flowers are attractive to hoverflies and the largest UK species, the hornet mimic hoverfly, (see picture) has recently been recorded on site.

The bright yellow of fleabane (see right) is putting on a good show too, concentrated in the area between the viewing platform and information board.  This nectar rich species has benefitted from the pulling out of young shoots of competing great willowherb in the spring, without which it would have lost out in the competition for light and space.  This serves to highlight the fact that maintaining biodiversity in a small area such as this involves a considerable amount of intervention.  In the woodland, sharp eyes may detect some species of fungi becoming more evident but that is a topic for another month!

During September we will be cutting the meadow and raking off the cut stems which helps to disperse the seed that will grow next year. We also look forward to supporting the Village Hall Trustees with their plans to plant native trees around the perimeter of the playing field.  For those who use social media, the Project now has an Instagram account at www.instagram.com/gmbiodiversity.  This will hopefully spread awareness of the Project and provide a pictorial record of wildlife to be found at the site and sometimes more widely around the village.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tim Baldwin

Golden Years Norfolk
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Parsley Barn
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Massingham Village Hall & Club
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