Volunteers at Work
Thursday, August 3rd 2023
Volunteers had a variety of jobs to do today. The sink at the bottom pond dipping platform had had new surrounds fitted and these were neatly painted, Unfortunately the rain decided to 'un-paint' them! Out came the paint and brushes and the task repeated. Hopefully that is it and the job will not have to be done again.
Elizabeth, Emma and Jules also worked on some boardwalk. Gerry commented on what an excellent job they had done.
Once that job was completed the area around the outdoor classroom was attacked - yes everything had grown, rather like Topsy! Minibeast hunting will be held here on Wednesday 9th August on the Family Day. (Please check the events page for more details.)
Brian and John were also busy tidying up at the bullet catcher and slashing Bracken. Thank you for all your hard work today.
Meanwhile Becky, Kate and Jenny were identifying the moths. More about that on another blog post over the weekend.
Kate carried out her butterfly survey and recorded 13 species, with Meadow Brown being the most common. She also recorded Silver Washed Fritillary but as it would not sit still, no photo. Later in the afternoon John saw one in the orchard, then another, great excitement. Books were treble checked and the ID confirmed. I was lucky enough to get them to sit still for photographs. They are a little nibbled around the edges!
Ragwort is poisonous to livestock but a large variety of insects, butterflies and moths feed from it. Bees collect the pollen. This one has a rather large pollen sac.
Cinnabar moth caterpillars feed on the leaves and flowers. I have inspected nearly every flower head and have found none of these moth caterpillars, until today. There were several on some Ragwort. The caterpillars are not harmed by the poisons in the plant but take them in and use them as a warning to any insects or birds likely to think of them as prey. The yellow and black are warning colours.
Thank you to the Thursday species team for all the work carried out today. Thanks to the Wednesday species team who also identified moths and found a wax cap on the moor in an area cut specially to encourage them to grow there. Fingers crossed that this might be yet another new species for the reserve.
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