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What a Morning!

Sunday, August 28th 2011

As usual the weather was very important - would it rain, would it stay dry for our Eco club meeting?  Plans B and C were ready.  People arrived all prepared for wet weather, wellies essential,  but we were so lucky as it stayed dry and sunny for our walk. 

We were looking at how different habitats on the reserve were managed.  Our first habitat involved a walk through an uncleared part of the heath, so prickles and thistles were well and truly felt.  A stop at the heath that the volunteers had cleared showed the differences. 

Thistles bigger than Elizabeth, were home to several 7 Spot Ladybirds which we were counting.  Crossing Risedale Beck we almost bumped into this huge Burdock and of course it had to be felt and was claimed to be prickly and tickly! 

Eco club looking and touching the Burdock

Up the steps, right turn, taking the path through the woodland to the new plantation, where funny shaped trees, pine needles, bones, fungi and Foxglove leaves, sunshine and darkness were all looked at and discussed.  Continued walking brought us to the Blubell bank recently strimmed and raked.  Fly Agaric was seen and close by a Stinkhorn fungus, that had been chewed before it could 'stink' with its fantastic aroma.

The Gorse bushes on the left as we topped the hill from Risedale Beck yielded several ladybirds, some right inside the very spikey prickles.  One very kindly came out and we asked it to smile for the camera, as you can see in this photo!

7 Spot Ladybird

Whilst looking for the ladybirds and finding them and spiders, this bug was spotted and photgraphed by Alicia.  Initially it was thought to be a shield bug.  Investigation by Catherine shows it to be the instar of Zicron caerulea, the Blue Bug. This is a new species for our Species List.   Absolutely great!!

Blue Shield Bug - Zicron caerulea

As we headed back to the Centre two Brimstone Butterflies were seen flying around which thrilled everybody. 

Having had a smiling ladybird we decided we had to have a smiling Eco Club for the blog!

Smiling Eco Club

Thank you to everyone who came and helped to make the walk so interesting, with all the different plants and animals spotted, good questions and good answers all round too.


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