Task for Thursday 30 May
The task for Thursday is to continue with the path edge clearance at Banstead Wood. Meet at the Park Farm car park at 10:00hrs.
Task for Tuesday 28 May
The task for Tuesday is to continue with the path clearance at Banstead Wood. Meet at the Park Farm car park at 10:00hrs.
Tools required - Silkies, sickles, scythes, rakes and pitchforks.
Clearing the long path
New wildlife and a rare plant
Three different tasks today, including clearing paths in the Knoll and refurbishing the Kidney Vetch patch on Stagbury. We were also requested to water wildflower seedlings at the lagoon. While we were hauling the water from the lagoon we noticed the increase in wildlife, including damselflies, water skaters and water boatmen. And, despite the sceptics around me who failed to spot it, I saw a newt among our pond plants!
Even more excitement ensued when Graham H discovered seedlings of Cut-leaved Germander on the side of the lagoon. These had sprouted from seed kindly donated by Peter Wakeham. The only other spot where this rare plant occurs locally is Fames Rough.
As you can see from the photo below, the Stagbury patch is thickly overgrown with a wide selection of plants all doing their utmost to obliterate the Kidney Vetch we have grown over several years. The food plant of the Small Blue butterfly, Kidney Vetch is short-lived and relies on dispersing its seeds into bare ground. If this gets too overgrown, the tiny Vetch seedlings lose out. This is why we regularly have to clear the patch of competing plants.
Today we cleared enough to put in some home-grown K. Vetch, more of which will be added when the work continues next week.
Click on photos to enlarge. Pics from Graham K.
The Four Scythe Saga
Today's production featured all four of our traditionally crafted scythes wielded by our traditionally crafted volunteers. They slashed their way through a large area of rank grasses and scrub on Stagbury near Holly Lane car park. We also finished burning all the waste arising from our previous efforts here, and the site is now not only tidier but also bursting with new wildflower growth.
Nearby, the water level in the lagoon has risen after the recent rain, and there are now lots of Daphnia (water fleas) in addition to the water skaters. We have added a sign board to provide info on our activities here. Both in and around the lagoon the wild plant seeding is beginning to emerge and the solitary Kidney Vetch plant is now in flower. More of these will be planted later in the season.
We're not sure of the significance of the welly boot on the fence of Holly Lane car park. Some kind of memorial to an old volunteer perhaps? Further suggestions welcome!
On Thursday, no fewer than 11 of our volunteers were tasked with reducing the overgrowth on the path at the lower side of Hill Wood Field. This is right at the top end of the path that starts at Holly Lane car park.
Despite being rained on at intervals, we managed to clear a long section of the path on both sides, removing over-growing branches and scything and raking the verges. We'll be doing more of this work in due course. Taking this action now should keep the paths clear for the summer. SCYTHING VIDEO HERE.
Note: if anyone would like to claim the trendy pair of glasses (slightly distressed, see pic) we found beside the path, please don't hesitate to write in.
Hover over pics for captions.
VIEW VIDEO HERE. Unlike the WoodChips visit to this reserve last year, there were no nightingales to be heard or seen, but there was still much to enjoy on such a pleasant day, particularly the weasel ferrying its young across a field. A good tally of bird life included a Garden Warbler singing for us and other happy twitchers. Many thanks to Richards II & III for transporting the party on the day.
Here is the list of birds observed at RSPB Pulborough Brooks on Tuesday 7th April, supplied by Graham Harris:
Mute Swan • Canada Goose • Egyptian Goose • Shelduck • Mallard • Teal • Garden Warbler • Lesser Whitethroat • Whitethroat • Blackcap • Chiff Chaff • Reed Warbler • Robin • Blackbird • Song Thrush • Skylark • Wren • Great Tit • Blue Tit • Long-tailed Tit • Dunnock • House Sparrow • Grey Heron • Little Egret • Black-headed Gull • Black-tailed Godwit • Redshank • Coot • Moorhen • Lapwing • Kestrel • Buzzard • Swift • Swallow • Goldfinch • Greenfinch • Jay • plus several Corvids.
Pics & video: Graham K.
Building in Banstead Woods