AWEG enjoys a busy programme

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Himalayan Balsam

AWEG, the Audlem Wildlife & Ecology Group, has enjoyed a programme of visits and rewarding work in recent weeks.

The group, chaired by Greville Watts, arose out of the 2010 Audlem Parish Plan and has been meeting every couple of months since and running a series of trips.

These included a visit to the Mottey Meadows National Nature Reserve which is a series of alluvial flood meadows which have been managed as hay meadows for many centuries.

The reserve supports over 240 species of flowering plants, including the rare snake's-head fritillary. The hay meadow flowers make a spectacular show in early summer.

Fortunately, a member of AWEG is Shirley Burton, an expert and enthusiastic botanist, who was able to bring that visit to life in June.

Mottey Meadows are situated near Wheaton Aston village, Staffordshire, close to the A5.

Shirley and other AWEG members enjoyed a visit in late May to Coxbank with a visit to two fascinating gardens that feature a large number of wild flowers and the stream which forms the Cheshire/ Shropshire border. Moths and other insects collected in a night trap were also studied.

The use of non-lethal light traps is a fascinating and rapidly growing hobby. Putting a moth trap out in the garden at dusk, and going through the catch in the morning is an easy and enjoyable way to study the range of insects visiting a garden.

While ten or so species of butterflies visit most gardens, more favoured gardens can easily achieve lists of 300 — 350 moth and other species per year. 

The group organised two recent work parties to pull invasive Himalayan Balsam near Grey's Bridge down Green Lane. While attractive, and much liked by bees, the non-native plant spreads rapidly and crowds out native species and is already a major problem along parts of Audlem Brook.

Earlier this week, AWEG members visited Monks Hall Farm and were shown out-of-the-way areas along the River Weaver by Janet Maughan as well as copses and areas of marshland.

Visits to Wybunbury Moss, an RSPB reserve and a trip to Budworth Mere near Northwich are being planned.

 

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