September 2013 - Update on the Churchyard

Small white on knapweed flower - August 2013

It is the second week in August and I have just come back from a leisurely stroll in our Churchyard. It is 2 years since the Probation Service helped St Walstan's Churchyard become a wildlife haven in addition to the normal function of caring for the dearly departed. Certain areas have been left without the routine grass cut to allow wild flowers to thrive whilst other areas had been cut to allow access to graves - and the results have been very rewarding. During my visit it was obvious that bumblebees were in abundance - I saw at least 3 different species including red tailed, buff tailed and common carder bees. Butterflies, including small and large whites, common blues, skippers, ringlets and meadow browns, were everywhere, enjoying the nectar from the knapweeds or 'hard heads' which were growing in profusion in the wildlife areas. Both green and black bins have been in operation for about a year so the old compost heap has been allowed to mature and diminish in size as it rots down. This compost heap had a large burrow in it, possibly made by a rabbit.  Even the cut grass around the entrance to the church was looking amazing with the small pink bindweed flowers intermingled with the short grass making it look as if confetti had been spread around! (I actually thought it was since a wedding had recently taken place).

Nursery spider protecting young - July 2013


If I had to put a name to this year I think I would either call it 'the year of the spider' or the 'year of the white butterflies'. I don't think I have ever seen so many white butterflies in Bawburgh over the 10 years we have been here - or so many cobwebs so early on in the year. One of the spiders which is particularly prevalent around Bawburgh is the nursery spider. This spider cares for its young in webs spun for that purpose. The web is only used to protect the young and not to catch prey which it does by a quick strike if a fly or other small insect strays too close.

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