Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Aug 7th Mousehold Heath

Small White
I helped out with a butterfly survey at Mousehold Heath this afternoon. It was a pretty successful one with 50 individuals counted. This included; 4 green-veined whites, 14 large whites, 7 small whites, 12 holly blues, 3 speckled woods, 8 gatekeepers, 1 small copper and 1 purple hairstreak.

Speckled Wood
Walking through the burnt Gorse areas
 However, though this was a good survey, it was overshadowed by the sad sight of burnt heathland. This long, hot summer has taken its toll on the local plant life. The majority of it is tinder dry. Gorse, in particular, is highly flammable in these conditions. It is the perfect target for arsonists and over the past 6 weeks, a series of arson attacks have led to over half of Mousehold's heathland being left to bare black skeletons of completely burnt gorse and heather. "It was like the apocalypse" Will told me, who was there to witness it first hand. This, for me, has to be one of the worst summers at Mousehold that I can remember. I almost broke into tears. The worst thing is, the arsonists are still at large. If anyone has any information of those responsible, please contact the police as soon as possible.
The Vinegar Pond
This area was cleared away after a fire from a few weeks ago

New growth coming through already from the ashes of the fire of 6 weeks ago

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