The founding members started Colwall Orchard Group because they were interested in orchard wildlife (Since then, lots of peple have joined in because they are interested in other aspects such as the traditional cultural role of orchards, their beauty and tranquillity).
We have carried out wildlife surveys in all the village orchards, and hope to update these in due course to chart the changes - many of the trees are on their last legs, and continue to die despite our best efforts to save them. We have also commissioned, or got involved in, more detailed surveys for particular groups - here are some of the results:
Orchards are great nesting and feeding places for woodpeckers. Orchards in and around Colwall have all three British woodpeckers: Green, Lesser Spotted and Great Spotted.
Herefordshire Biodiversity Partnership ran a project to map the distribution of woodpeckers in Herefordshire. Colwall Orchard Group is helped with this survey and we have installed some special nest boxes in and around our orchards.
The results are now available.
Noble chafer beetle
The Noble Chafer beetle is a ‘Priority’ BAP species with its own ‘Species Action Plan’. We started Colwall Orchard Group with a survey for this beetle, in association with the people’s trust for endangered species.
We found one site, and many more very suitable habitats. We hope to do a search for these large colourful adults when they emerge from the trees in July (opportunity for working parties will be on members' pages). Read more.
Mistletoe tortrix moth
This small, but pretty, moth lives exclusively on mistletoe. Its caterpillar lives inside the leaves, leaving feeding trails known as leaf mines. The moth is very rare, with most sightings from the Three Counties and down in Somerset.
Moth experts surveyed for leaf mines in five orchards in 2010. They found drew a blank in two of the orchards, but in the other three orchards found leaf mines in 1, 3 and 7 trees respectively.
There are many other moths living in and on our orchard trees, such as this Grey Dagger, the caterpillars of which feed on apple and cherry.
Our moth trapping event last year was rained off, but we hope to get out in the orchards with our moth trap this year – see members pages for more information. If anyone is interested in borrowing the trap to run in any of the orchards, please get in touch with Helen or Tim.
Other bugs and beasties
Colwall Orchards are "amongst the best known in England" for bugs and beasties that live on dead wood – so says foremost expert Dr Keith Alexander after his recent survey of local orchards.
Often overlooked, many fascinating creatures live in dead wood in the trees, in crevices in the bark and amongst lichens, fungi, leaves and flowers on the trees. Come and learn more on our Blossom Picnic bug hunt!
page updated 1st January 2015