Howard Phillips – Brock Bottom, 13th July 2022

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Howard Phillips – Brock Bottom, 13th July 2022

Seven members met at the Car Park in Brock Bottoms at 11 a.m. The weather was sunny and warm with a gentle breeze and not too hot.
Owen and Carol arrived early and had put out food which the welcoming Nuthatch appreciated. Owen was keen to show us Map Lichen growing on the stone parapet of the bridge. The patches of lichen look like a map. Just at that time a Grey Wagtail (one of several we were to see) flew under the bridge.
I had provided a large scale plan of the river in 1960, hoping to identify changes in its course as it has eroded downwards and laterally. However, such was the growth of vegetation, this proved to be impossible. I did have some photographs I had taken at that time and with some difficulty we identified the spot where they had been taken.
Hence we turned our attention to the fauna and flora. Barry drew our attention to some Bird Cherry bushes covered with silky webs spun by the Bird Cherry Ermine Moth whose larvae appeared to have had a devastating effect on the leaves. However, no lasting damage is done to the Bird Cherry. Many of the moths were just hatching out. Several spikes of Giant Bellflower stood out – specimens magnificent enough to be displayed in a horticultural show. At this point a Kingfisher flew upstream followed by a Dipper which obligingly alighted on its favourite stone before flying on.
You might have read about Owen’s quest for the Dun Sentinel snail for the Conchological Society (it’s in the Nature News section). Indeed we did find a snail – but Brock Bottom is far from tidal waters. This was a White-lipped Snail (it has a white lip at the aperture of the shell). Christine and Julie spotted a colourful bracket fungus and then feasted on wild raspberries and red currants – presumably growing from seeds dropped by the birds. We saw Chaffinch, Great Tit and Robin. Jenie was presented with a buttonhole of Yellow Pimpernel (aka Creeping Jenny).
Below Nanny’s Breast where a small tributary joins the Brock, the valley opens out into a series of terraces deposited by the river when flowing at a higher level. When this area was grazed the breaks in slope at the edge of the terraces were very clear but now all is obscured by bracken. On the lowest terrace there were spreads of Meadowsweet and alongside the grass path, Marsh Thistle and Lesser Stitchwort.
In several places we came across the work of the Wyre Countryside Rangers and Volunteers in cutting back the invasive Himalayan Balsam. On the way back to the car park we met one of the Wyre Rangers litter picking – mostly little black bags. Why do some people spoil such a beautiful place?

Carol has provided the species list below:
Flora – Map Lichen, Hogweed, Butterbur, Meadow Buttercup, Red Campion, Bramble sp., Herb Robert, Barren Brome, Reed Canary Grass, Enchanter’s Nightshade, Meadowsweet, Giant Bellflower, Raspberry, Amphibious Bistort, Nipplewort, Jointed Rush, Cocksfoot Grass, Yellow Pimpernel, Brooklime, Selfheal, Red Currant, Burdock, Lesser Stitchwort, Marsh Thistle, Foxglove.
Birds – Robin, Nuthatch, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Chaffinch, Kingfisher.
Insects – Soldier Beetle, Bird Cherry Ermine Moth, Helina (fly), White-lipped snail, Meadow Plant Bug, Dingy Footman moth, Comma, Brown Hawker.

Categories: Mid Week Outing

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