Wivenhoe’s Lower Lodge

Lower Lodge, part of the Colne Nature Reserve in #WildWivenhoe, is a wonderful piece of natural, species-rich grassland, which has developed over the past 15 years through the enlightened management of Colchester Borough Council. Previously gang-mown amenity grassland has been allowed to recover, through the simple method of mowing patches on a three or four year rotation. No plant species have been sown or planted there, and of course all the insects including some rarities have moved in of their own accord.

It comes into its own for insects and flowers in July, and in 2020 this was especially valued, given COVID lockdown. The images below is a selection of the wonderful things we found over just one month this year. The most noticeable differences from previous years were the general abundance of butterflies, apart from the dearth of Common Blues, together with the similar scarcity and late appearance of Burnet Moths, which share a larval food plant with the blue – Bird’s-foot-trefoil. My suspicion is that the intense April drought badly affected the foodplant, with knock-on effects on dependent species through the summer.