Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Wychall School Trial Operation Pollinator
We had a great day today entertaining year 4 children from Wychall Primary School from Birmingham. We started the day, after a loo stop, with a session up on the hill trying to spot pollinators. The weather, I'll be honest has not been great over the past few weeks, so my expectations were low but we were very pleasantly surprised! We split the group of 36 into 6 group and we surveyed 3 different habitats. There was a permanent grass field, a pollen and nectar mix (with bird food) and a crop of Oilseed rape. My thoughts were to see which pollinators we actually had on the farm having never really stopped and looked at them before. On Sunday we are taking part in LEAF's Open Farm Sunday event and after the farm tour people are being offered the chance to go and do a pollinator survey in some stewardship mixes, crops and orchards to see what we can find in the great British farmland.
Considering the weather was cold and wet we found lots and lots of grasshoppers (far too many to count), we found soldier beetles and ladybirds in their dozens and also lots of bumblebees. Surprisingly we found the largest population of bumble bees in the crop of oilseed where there had been some winter pigeon predation and the crop was still flowering. There were soldier beetles everywhere and lots of moths and hundreds of flies emerging from the grassland so we counted them as well! If you want to take part in our pollinator survey we still have room on he 10.30, 12.00 and 14.00 tractor rides, (survey after the ride for 30 mins or so) or have a look on the Open Farm Sunday website for a location nearer to you that is taking part.