I’ve not been down to Swanwick for a few weeks, probably well over a month to be honest as I’ve been busy on other sites. Wow, what a difference a month makes particularly going from spring into summer. The meadows are looking full of colour and the diversity of invertebrates is building nicely.
Before heading to Swanwick I was looking for a photo for a presentation and stumbled across a photo from 4 years ago. I knew the view would look different now but I wasn’t expecting such a contrast.
After having this photo fresh in my mind I was simply blown away by the difference correct grazing management can make. Four years ago it was almost possible to loose a horse in the scrub regrowth. Now there is hardly any and the abundance of Orchids, Ragged robin, Bugle and Vetches is simply staggering.
Along the way up to North East Meadow I walked up onto north hill, which again is stuffed full of insects. The majority of which were Hoverflies of varying sizes and colours basking on the bramble bushes.
I stepped into North East Meadow and the first thing I noticed were the shear numbers of Orchids poking their heads up above the grasses.
Then a Common blue butterfly grabbed my attention, flying in front of my face before settling on a blade of grass.
Then a Meadow brown flew past and then another. I think I saw about four in total and they were all looking in mint condition presumably freshly hatched.
Interested to see how many Damsel and Dragonflies were around the shallow meadow pond I headed up to take a look. Broad-bodied chasers, Blue-tailed and Large red damselflies were in good abundance, particularly in sheltered areas out of the wind.
I headed back to the centre via Flat Meadow which, again, was looking fantastic. Grasshoppers and Crickets were starting to stridulate (make a grasshopper/cricket noise, rubbing their legs together), which was the first I’ve heard this year. Another pleasant surprise was a fleeting glimpse of a Green hairstreak (a first for me at Swanwick) and an Emperor Dragonfly.