At least we saw some pretty bugs

Look, a tower crane…

Today we’re in the horribly named Gungoldinger Wacholderheide. I bumped into this nature conservation area about an hour north from here recently, while I was checking out a list of nature conservation areas in Bavaria. I’ve noticed that although agriculture dominates everything here, the nature conservation areas are generally quite worthy of visitation. This specific area is a sandy loamy heathland slope with rocky outcrops, and it borders the Altmühl river. Supposedly it has a good plant diversity. (Conveniently, this area has good facilities for camper folk, although admittedly, most camper people here are 20-30 years our seniors)

Once seen, it cannot be unseen…
Help? Edit: Steven de Goede came to rescue here – this is white swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum hirundaria) a poisonous plant that is rather rare in my home country.

Aside from a few common flowers that I had already mostly spotted in the Garchinger Heide last week (including the Helianthemum nummularium that I will of course never forget), there was little new to be seen, but I think the peak for plants this area may be in a few weeks from now. We did see some pretty insects.

Always good to see the dozens of insects that are attracted by umbellifers, in this case cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris).
A pretty reduviid bug
A restless ant queen, looking for a mate or a place to start a colony

I admit, I was a bit disappointed about the plant diversity here. Maybe I didn’t explore enough… The area does have beautiful views over the valley. I convinced Rafa to sit with me on the ledge and enjoy it for a while (well he convinced me, really. I have fear of heights, but had to look like a cool dad somehow). My boy was mostly interested in cranes, motorcycles and farmers passing by on loud tractors. From these heights we could see one farmer mow and destroy all his agricultural borders along a plot within the protected area. I didn’t understand the particular need for this, but I’m a dumb ecologist, what do I know…

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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