Maintaining your M16

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday, 1 September 2010 19:54

Well the NVC community M16 (Cross-leaved Heath - Sphagnum compactum wet heath) rather than the firearm. I've been at Graffham today where a very small patch of M16 wet heath is home to the BAP species, Marsh Club-moss. I counted 29 plants today (18 last year). The bright green of the Marsh Club-moss contrasts starkly with the deep-red of the carnivorous Round-leaved Sundew. These species are early successional species of this community and will be lost if all the bare ground is covered by Purple Moor-grass and heathers. Scraping in another year or two will be required to maintain this habitat. Club-mosses are vascular plants by the way and not bryophytes.

Lots of other good stuff there today too. A Firecrest down to 5 metres whilst I was having my lunch. Bog Bush-crickets and Woodland Grasshoppers everywhere. Another 'quadrat tick' was a small Adder that I very nearly put my hand on. There was lots of this very smart hoverfly, the rather large and noisy social wasp-mimic, Sericomyia silentis. Again in a quadrat, hence the tape measure in the background. I saw them there last year too.
This shield bug was a new one to me though, Picromerus bidens. It looks like the Forest Bug but has sharper-pointed shoulders.
Finally, there were lots of big orange Araneus diadematus chomping there way through nationally scarce crickets and grasshoppers! Here is a big female.

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