|Looking eastward over Breakwater Drive|
|From the Dunes to Breakwater Drive|
Bude Marsh and Valley Survey Group recently completed their annual survey of Summerleaze Dunes. July is always seleced as this is the month when most dune plants are in flower. And they were. The recently levelled area in front of the RNLI station was expected to be a barren desert, but plants are beginning to recolonise the area. It was formerly a home to many wasteland species and some garden escapes. The car park edges still host many of these species which is the seed bank for recolonisation of the bare sand.
The larger natural dune area continues to be a delight. Sand dunes are the most natural remaining habitat in the UK and this area comprises both Embryo and Mobile Dune habitats. It is host to typical species of these habitats; Sea Holly, Sea Spurge, Marram, Sea Bindweed, Restharrow and Morning Primrose to name but a few. It is the only remaining dune habitat between Perranporth in the south and Braunton Burrows in the north.
The Sea Holly is an amazing colour and obviously important and attractive to bees. We observed tens of Red-tailed and hundreds of White-tailed Bumblebees nectaring on these plants.
|Dune Chafer on Marram|
The Survey Group continues to record all of these typical dune plants and invertebrates which are unique to this habitat. Silvery Leaf-cutter bees were again identified. They need the soft un-compacted sand in which to nest, Restharrow for nectar and Bird’s-foot Trefoil leaves to line their nest all of which are only to be found together here. We also added an endemic dune species for the first time; Dune Chafers which were busily producing another generation in the Marram grass.
|Silvery Leafcutter Bee approaching her nest|
This year we recorded 66 species of plants, birds, butterflies and beetles in this tiny 1.2 hectare area of Bude bringing our running total in three years of survey to 120 species.
It is one of Bude’s hidden jewels, a secret treasure that should be cherished.