Shark spotted at Bayston Hill quarry
Ok, so it’s a Chamomile Shark caterpillar – but still an unusual find in Shropshire!
Following a survey carried out by Dan Wrench, biodiversity officer and county ecologist at Shropshire Council, numerous rare and unusual plants and bugs to Shropshire have been discovered on recently the sown wildflower meadow at Tarmac’s quarry in Shropshire.
Last year, on the advice of Dan, the new screening bund created in 2010 was strewn with fresh hay from local nature reserves. The hay was strewn over two days by local volunteers, many from the local rambling group.
Michael Charlton, Tarmac’s restoration manager, said: “I am amazed at the range of flora and fauna on such a newly created piece of land and so close to a working quarry. And with the public footpath running through the meadow it’s available for everyone to see and appreciate.”
The flora and fauna discovered are:
Meadow Brome (Bromus commutatus). This is rare in Shropshire with only seven records ever, one from 1878, one from 1894 and the others from 2009. It has never been recorded in the Bayston Hill or Shrewsbury area before.
Rat's-tail Fescue (Vulpia myuros). This is a scarce grass in Shropshire. It was last recorded at Bayston Hill in 1878. It was very unusual in that it was abundant in the new grassland.
Mining bee (Andrena bimaculata) - very uncommon this far north. This is another species that seems to be spreading north.
Scarce type of Dolycopid Fly called Tachytrechus notatus which is the first ever record in the West Midlands.
Hoverfly (Helophilus trivittatus). It is quite scattered across the UK but is never common. It is quite a large, attractive hoverfly and the larvae of this group are known as rat-tailed maggots.
Chamomile Shark caterpillar (Cucullia chamomillae). Another uncommon species but again quite widely scattered through the UK. It was unusual to find this feeding on Yarrow. Wild Carrot (Daucus carota). Quite unusual and not recorded at Bayston Hill since 1907.
Wild Carrot is odd in that it almost always has one flower in the centre coloured red – often very dark red. The rest are always white - who knows why!?
Dan Wrench, commented: “It’s early days yet for the wildflower meadow creation work but efforts by Tarmac, Shropshire Council and local volunteers are already paying off and characteristic meadow flowers like Eyebright and Yellow Rattle are already becoming established. With regular management of cutting and grazing, some weed control and no input of fertilizer, the site is likely to become one of the more spectacular and accessible nature reserves in Shropshire.”
There are still a further two fields and ponds to survey.
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26 September 2012