Well it's been a long time coming but finally I am ready to make my return to the world of blogging. So I though I would start with a post outlining a bit about myself, the aims of the new blog and the areas it will cover.
A bit about me & a bit about blogs
For those of you who aren't aware, between 2010 and 2014 I spent 5 years (and 700+ posts) writing a blog entitled Shenstone Birder. It originally started as a bird blog based at my local patch of Shenstone/Stone in Worcestershire but after many years of birding my interest diversified and so did the blog to covering a range of species including butterflies, moths, dragonflies, fungi and much more. But as with many things after 8 years of working Shenstone as my patch and 5 years of blogging about it I ran out of gas. I had lost my blogging and wildlife watching mojo.
In 2015 I tried to re-ignite my passion for the wildlife and start writing a blog again. The short-lived Punk By Nature was the result. This was a stop start affair that lasted just 14 posts. It was clear to me that I still wasn't ready to write on a regular basis and share my wildlife experiences as I once had. That spark was still missing.
In the first half of 2016 I had a rough few months with my health but as the summer went on I started to get out more around some of the local sites and spent quite a few hours visiting Hartlebury Common and the adjoining Hillditch Pool & Coppice Nature Reserves and an idea began to form.
Hartlebury Common is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) that is located just outside of Stourport on Severn. It is Worcestershire's largest remaining area of lowland heath and it is home to vast array of variety of flora and fauna, including some heathland specialities. Notable invert species for the site include: Emperor Moth, Green Hairstreak, Heather Ladybird, Mottled Grasshopper and Fan-bristled Robberfly. The common can be good for dragonflies as it has a pond (the Rush Pool) and more importantly an area of acid bog (the Bog Pool) which itself is a rare habitat in Worcestershire.
Heather Ladybird - Hartlebury Common, October 2016
The Common is an important site in the summer months for breeding warblers and holds good numbers of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat. A small number of Yellowhammers breed on the common and Spotted Flycatchers breed locally to the site and are often seen there late summer.
Spotted Flycatcher - Hartlebury Common, August 2016
Hillditch Pool & Coppice
Adjacent to the common is Hillditch Pool and Coppice Nature Reserve. This pool was originally formed by the damming of Titton Brook to provide power for a nearby mill. The habitat here is a great mixture of lily pond, reed bed and wet woodland. It is a great area in the summer months for dragonflies and damselflies and in recent years it has held a small breeding population of Scarce Chaser, a species that is usually found in along the slow moving stretches of the River Avon in the south of the county. Cuckoos are heard calling annually each spring on this reserve.
Scarce Chaser - Hillditch Pool, June 2013
A Year on the Common
So there you have a quick overview of the reserves and a bit of spiel about my previous blogging exploits but what is this new blog "A Year on the Common" all about. We'll, the basic idea is that I will spend a 12 month period starting on 1st January 2017 observing, recording and monitoring the wildlife on these 2 adjoining reserves. This blog will serve as an outlet for this project and a record of my findings. Of course these areas have been well monitored in the past but you never know what is out there to be found or what may have sadly disappeared over the years so it will prove an interesting experience.
So know I have got this big wordy introduction out of the way I can now start with the enjoyable activity of seeing what I can find out there. Please be sure to check back in on the blog and share this journey with me.