Tewkesbury Nature Reserve,  17th June 2024

by Alan Waterman

This was our second meeting lead by Giles Alder, he has two hats one is Cleeve Common and this time he was wearing his Tewkesbury Nature Reserve hat. It was a gorgeous June day, blue sky with a few white clouds, just to add interest, nothing threatening, given the poor weather this Spring and summer it was almost the first summers day. A nice sized group of about 12 turned up and whilst we were going through the preliminaries ( don’t fall into the river etc) we heard a Cuckoo from the car park and saw a greenfinch in a hedgerow tree.

There are some Willow growing close to the car park and these were covered with silken webs from Ermine moths.   One of the participants on the walk was Robert Homan the County Moth recorder and he explained that they were Willow Ermine Moths and later we identified Orchard Ermine moths. Great to have him on hand to talk us through the life styles of leaf miners and the complex predator prey relationships involved. Robert supplied this list of some of the more interesting species that we encountered.

Gymnosporangium fuscum  European Pear Rust gall

Aculus tetanothrix Mite gall

Euura proxima Sawfly gall

Heterarthrus wuestneii  Sawfly leaf mine

Agriopis marginaria  Macro moth caterpillar

Epermenia chaerophyllella  Micro moth lavae

Mompha epilobiella  Micro moth larvae

Stigmella aceris Micro moth leaf mine

Yponomeuta padella (Orchard Ermine) Micro moth larval webs

Yponomeuta rorrella (Willow Ermine) Micro moth larval webs

Agromyza viciae Leaf mining fly leaf mine

Chromatomyia ramosa  Leaf mining fly leaf mine

Phytomyza ranunculi Leaf mining fly leaf mine

Pentatoma rufipes Shieldbug nymph

We meandered round the site, roughly following the small river Swilgate and taking care to not fall in though at one point there was a nice dragonfly resting on the reeds but just a little way out so it was tempting to lean out a little to get a good photo. This turned out to be an immature female called a Scarce Chaser. Aptly named as it is the rarest of the Chasers and Giles later confirmed that there had only been one previous record of it at the site back in 2020. ( photo supplied by John Woodbridge) There were various other damsel flies about including the very beautiful and delicate Banded Demoiselle. Not quite so eye-catching was a snail also on the reeds by the river, this was later identified as Succinea putris and is a first record for the site, not perhaps for its rarity but because it had previously been overlooked. This species is also an intermediate host for a fluke which also parasitises birds like Robins and Wagtails.

On the bird front we saw a reasonable range, this list supplied by GNS member Mike Daw.

Cuckoo, Blackcap, Skylark, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, GS Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Mallard, Reed Bunting, Starling, Buzzard, Sedge Warbler, Goldfinch, Heron, Wren, Swift, House Martin, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Dunnock.

We also came across a member of the public kitted out with telephoto lens, binoculars and a phone app who said he had heard but not seen a Bluethroat  ( identified from the phone app???) We did not see or hear one.

The second part of the walk crossed some nice wet meadow type of habitat and our attention turned mainly to the wild flowers and there was a good range to be seen including some difficult to identify umbellifers.  Several members had some knowledge but no that we had absolute experts but subsequent investigations by Giles and Alan Waterman suggest.

This is a list from my memory and with thanks to Des Marshall who took the trouble to note down some of the species we came across.

Common Meadow Rue Pepper-Saxifrage Thalictrum flavum Silaum silaus
Great Burnet Sanguisorba officinalis
Narrow-leaved water dropwort Oenanthe silaifolia
False fox sedge Carex otrubae
Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
Hard rush Juncus introflexus
Smooth tare Vicia tetrasperma
Hairy St.John’s wort Hypericum hirsutum
Glaucous sedge Carex flacca
Grass vetchling Lathyrus nissolia

Greater Knapweed                                                                  Centaurea scabiosa

Finally a big thanks to Giles who has now taken us on two very interesting walks. It was apparent that the majority of folks present had not visited the Tewkesbury reserve before and if you have also not been there before then it is well worth a visit.

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