Well it was Worth All the Effort


Field Trip Report - Anchor Meadow 31st May

Just over two years ago 50 people objected to the proposed property development at Anchor Meadow in Aldridge. Not all were local branch members since Val Weston also asked some of her colleagues at Barclays Bank to object if they lived nearby, and they did. This set the wheels in motion within the council, and after involvement from members such as Peter Newell, Dave Jackson, Mike Williams and myself, along with Walsall Countryside Services Department an equable compromise was reached with Bryant Homes PLC. Peter, as the local man, and the person who first identified Anchor Meadow potential had the honour of leading the walk.

The day was sunny and hot but because the season was so early I was concerned the Dingy Skipper flight period might be over. I need not have worried as we saw 20 over the whole complex, the highest numbers ever. Twelve were recorded in the spare ground adjacent to the Health Centre where the Managing Partner, Dr Denys Wells is most supportive and has left the area free from the curse of laid lawns. Another three were on the actual nature reserve that will need the bramble cutting back this winter as it is crowding out the habitat. Any local volunteers to help Peter Newell please approach me for contacts, your offer will be gratefully accepted. And brilliantly, another eight were identified on a patch of ground that Walsall Council’s Recreation Department gave up to extend the potential habitat.

Loads of Common Blue were seen, along with a few Small White, Speckled Wood and two Large Skipper, which at the time of writing, are season firsts in the branch. Almost equalling the Dingy’s in importance were the day-flying moths that are relatively common in this urban area unlike in the rural countryside within our branch. There were swarms of Burnet Companion, good numbers of Latticed Heath and the odd Cinnabar. Alan Prior identified the micro moth Light Brown Apple and another with an impossible Latin name which he phoned me with a day later to correct the spelling. I was totally lost by this stage so it will remain a mystery. We even had a few Silver Y that had decided to come over from the continent to see what the fuss was all about on this site. Damselflies were represented by the Blue-tailed.

Like so many of my articles I would like to end on a personal note. I was delighted to meet two new faces. They were so enthused at seeing so many new things for the first time that one has volunteered to help with any scrub bashing, whilst the other from Perry Barr is now going to get involved with moth identification and recording after a suggestion from Val Weston. I say this as a challenge to the large numbers of new members who have recently joined the branch in the Birmingham area probably after publicity from Alan Titchmarsh. Do get to see some of the amazing butterflies and moths that exist, you will never conserve until you have appreciated. Do phone committee members for advice or assistance. How many of you will lapse your membership by the end of the year if you have not done anything?

Finally, thanks to all those who wrote to the council, have a pint on me! Please also approach your employers to ensure that they create habitat around the back of factories or offices conducive to wildlife. Its quite possible as the new leaflet from Butterfly Conservation on brownfield and urban sites informs. Please contact the Regional Officers if you would like some to circulate.

Richard Southwell


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