Reeds, Raking and Ragwort
Tuesday, August 10th 2021
Team Tuesday were hard at work again today: the first job was to put up the QAVS (Queen's Award for Voluntary Service) banners. One on the Field centre and a special wind-proof one on the perimeter fence.
The next job was to cut back the reeds that the rain had pushed over the boardwalk (this job was only done last week but heavy showers meant it needed to be done for a second time). A full ton sack was filled with the cuttings!
This was all done before coffee time and then the group headed to the stone circle to cut back the vegetation on the Bluebell bank. Now that the Bluebells have gone over, cutting and raking is a great way to spread the seeds and to remove excess nutrients. It was noticable that the Bracken in this area has reduced significantly through this management which will benefit the wildflowers.
With many hands it still wasn't light work! There were 4 people with strimmers and 4 with hay rakes.
Although the clouds threatened, thankfully the rain held off and the cut grass soon dried.
Two new strimmers provided by the Co-op made a huge difference and meant the task could be completed much quicker than in previous years.
In some places Harebells, Tormentil and Ragwort were still in flower and these were left as a valuable source of nectar for invertebrates.
Although harmful to livestock (there isn't any on the reserve at the moment), Common Ragwort is one of the most frequently visited flowers by butterflies in the UK and more than 200 species of invertebrate have been recorded on it. It is the foodplant of the black and red Cinnabar moth: sometimes its black and yellow barred caterpillars cover the plant, totally stripping the leaves. This hoverfly was spotted as the team were packing up for the day.
Many families have enjoyed visiting the reserve this week and the 'Make a Bird Feeder' activity from Monday has been left out in the classroom so you can still have a go at making a treat for your garden birds.
If you do visit this week, part of the red route is currently out of bounds whilst repairs are carried out on one of the bridges, we apologise for any inconvenience and are hugely grateful to Bob for all of his hard work and time spent on making it safe.
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