Cromwell Bottom

Cromwell Bottom

NEWS - MEETINGS - EVENTS

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Life In The Willow Carr

Dont be too hasty to undermine the value of Willow Scrub. The Early Flowering Willows provide an ample and urgent supply of food in Spring that begin,  many of our important Food Chains that translate all the way up to your migrant returns such as the chiff Chaff. With the reserve in danger of becoming over used these areas give wildlife an opportunity to  retreat.  Upward of 450 species have been recorded in association with Willow in many diverse forms  here is a small selection from our Records  It is important as it stabilises riverbanks and gives cover to birds, otters and other water-associated animals. It increases the diversity of flora and fauna (biodiversity). Willow and alder support more varieties of insect than any other tree apart from oak, and the roots give shelter to fish. The abundance of insect life also provides food for fish.or amphibia.

Today Fri 11th April , First Generation Commas and Peacocks where seen feeding and flying. the Comma in Particular  on Willow. Orange Tips are also evident on the corridors of Brassicacae ( Flowers in the Cabbage Family) around the River and Carr boundaries .  The dwindling melancholy song of Willow Warbler was also noted and the call of the Chiff Chaff unmistakeable





The Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler 26884



Willow Warbler 26897



Comma Willow 26409


Comma Willow 26408


In one particular area good Numbers of Andrena clarkella where seen feeding on the day and a week previous. Amongst the tufted mosses and leaf litter a Nomadic Bees where also present , - a specific parasitic relationship being present.. Amongst the Bryophytes ( Mosses) om damp conditions around the Spagnum Hoverflies utilise the leaf detritus and standing water , noted where Eristalis tenax , E. Pertinax and Syrphus spp. The grasses and carr floor contained also large numbers of Lycosid Spider and Red Ant where also noted

Andrena fulva 26425

These Carrs also are low lying in relation to the river water table and the old fly ash / gravel excavations and therefore hold damp and shady conditions on hot arid days , many people associate our Newts with Ponds but these amphibia can spend a lot of time in suitable terrestrial habitat like the Tag Cut Base and Damp Carrs

The Common Frog Rana temporaria and Newts avail of the humidity layer retained by over vegetation on the hot exposed days whem they occurr at Cromwell

Frog 27184

In the reserve Grey Willow give some rise to very special circumstances which encourage two particularly important plants which have a relationship , with fungi specific to Grey Willow. Of course that is before you enumerate the Lichens , bryophytes and other overlooked plants and animals

Shrews and small animals are also found. Because in the habitat management compartments these Carrs have reached succession does not in the least mean they are any less productive in their  ecology or contribution to all of the habitat Mosaics in general .


Peacock Carr 26435



Frog 27184

2299 Mouse Moth Amphipyra tragopoginis

Caterpillar 29547


This is the Caterpillar (June 2014)  of the Mouse Moth whose larvae may feed or depend on Willow. The caterpillars feed on a variety of herbaceous plants, including the flowers, as well as trees such as sallow(Salix) 

Other Moths include the Willow Beauty 

Willow Dependent Moths

Willow Beauty Moth
Willow Aphid

Hoverflies ( Various On willow pollen
Eristalis tenax
Eristalis pertinax

Other

Bryophytes - Mosses & Liverworts

These simple plants with shallow roots and limitted vascular system reliant on the damp humid conditions in the ground layers provided by moisture retention and shade

Carr Trees can accomodate interesting scarce bryophytes and should not be felled. In addition care should be taken not to defoliate too  many trees around them so that the important bryophytes which like humid conditions are then exposed to too much unaccustomed sun and thus heat and drying-out. The leafy liverworts will be particularly sensitive to lack of humidity.


Crescent Cup Liverwort
Thyme leaved Harts Tongue Moss
Swan Necked Thyme Moss
Rough Leaved Feather Moss
Common Feather Moss
Spagnhum Spp

Lichens
Xanthoria parietus

Fungi & Micro Fungi

Birch Woodwart - Hypoxylon multiforme
Candlesnuff Fungus - Xylaria hypoxylon 


Here is a list of NOTABLE INVERTEBRATE SPECIES associated with the habitat of WET WOODLAND

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