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This sunny summer weather is perfect for butterflies, bees and other insects. A variety of species are active in the nature reserve at the moment. Some can easily be seen by checking out the flowers that are in bloom. For instance the yellow daisy-like flowers of ragwort are magnets for lots of insects. You may be lucky enough to see a Small Copper, the jewel-liked butterfly that is the Friends of The Heath emblem.
Others prefer the purple flowers of knapweed.
Small White on Knapweed
Bee on Knapweed
But not all butterflies need flowers. The elusive Purple Hairstreak feeds on greenfly honeydew found on leaves high up in oak trees. I have been pleased to see them in the nature reserve in large numbers this week. The trick is to stand and patiently stare up at the canopy. Eventually you should see a flurry of little silvery butterflies fluttering between the oak leaves.
Take the time to stand and stare next time you visit The Heath. You will be well rewarded.
The Heath baked under the blazing sun today but it didn’t stop our wonderful volunteers turning out to clean up the space we love. They collected about twenty bags of litter in an hour.
Well done and thank you!
Friends of The Heath are running another litter-pick event on Knutsford Heath on Sunday 24th June between 11am and noon.
A group of like-minded volunteers will be roaming the site giving the area a good old clean-up. This is no small task, so if you can offer even a few minutes, then your help will be much appreciated.
Meet on The Heath at the corner of Tabley Road and Manchester Road at 11am.
Bring gardening gloves or equivalent.
“Many hands make light work!”
The Lions returned to The Heath for their traditional fund-raising fair on the late May bank holiday.
It turned out to be a wonderful summer’s day, perfect for families to enjoy all that was on offer. There were children’s games, charity stalls, a variety of food and drink, and live music. A highlight was the dog show in the central arena, providing great fun for both participants and audience.
The Lions provided Friends of The Heath with our own stall where we were able to meet people to explain what we do and to hear their views about The Heath.
We thank Knutsford Lions for staging the event. The result was undoubtedly successful and hugely enjoyable.
The day’s work was straightforward and easy. We found only a small amount of gorse and birch in the heather; indicating we are on top of the job of keeping the heather beds clear. It didn’t take long to removed what was there. We then moved on to the woodland to clear sycamore saplings, which were abundant and unless reduced could become dominant.
As it is the bird nesting season, we also checked the nest boxes for activity. We did not see as much activity as during last year’s survey. This may be because the season started late this year and the birds were sitting in the nests, incubating their eggs, rather than feeding their young. Altogether we observed seven boxes with Blue Tits flying in and out.
Supplement 22nd May: the theory seemed to be proved by a check two weeks later when I found more activity. I observed Blue Tits using fifteen boxed and Great Tits using three boxes.
St Mark’s Flies © David Nicholls
The weather was sunny and warm and we were fascinated to see, swarming over the heather, lots of big black flies with dangling hind legs. These were St Mark’s Flies, so called because they emerge around St Mark’s Day on 25th April. They are useful insects: their larvae eat rotting vegetation in the soil and the adults feed on nectar, acting as pollinators. As always, The Heath provides a window into the natural world.
Thank you to our fantastic volunteers for your time and to Cheshire Wildlife Trust for running the day.
This year’s ‘Royal’ May Day celebration on Saturday was blessed with glorious sunshine. Townsfolk and visitors alike enjoyed the festival parade through the streets and onto The Heath where we were entertained by the traditional dances and May Queen crowning ceremony.
We must congratulate the ‘Royal’ May Day committee on providing such a memorable day and thank all the volunteers who worked to make it happen.
If you’d like to know more about this wonderful tradition, visit the Knutsford ‘Royal’ May Day website.