On Thursday we will be Balsam plucking, by popular request (actually by Richard C). Meet at the Park Farm car park at 10:00. Remember that Covid rules still apply...
On Tuesday 4 August we will return to working. This first task is to walk the site and clear any litter that we find. Meet at the Park Farm car park at 10:00hrs. Bring your own hand cleanser, drink and snack as we are not able to share...
We will be working in pairs and must maintain social distancing.
See you there...
No social distancing! A lovely warm night, but they couldn't help themselves after a visit to the pub...
Males of Melitta haemorrhoidalis roosting inside a Campanula flower.
The tiny young frog pictured above was one of several seen hopping about at the Lagoon. They were between the water and the protective hibernaculum we made with logs recycled from our recent coppicing activities.
Large amounts of wildflowers continue to flourish in the meadow beside the Lagoon and some are spreading over the fence and down the sides, providing cover for wildlife and helping to prevent erosion of the steep chalk banks.
This week's species include Wild Carrot and two large clumps of Burdock. The Cut-leaved Germander is also doing well this year.
This post is to draw the attention of the Surrey Wildlife Trust to an increasingly urgent conservation situation in the Eastern end of the county.
At first glance, the first photo shows an idyllic scene: a family out on their bikes enjoying the countryside. But this bit of countryside is in a Local Nature Reserve where cycling is prohibited and the cyclists have just ridden over the site of two rare plants, Cut-leaved Germander and Ground Pine.
This highlights the current plight of this entire field (Fames Rough in Chipstead) and neighbouring Coneyboro Hill, which have been known for their rich diversity of butterflies and plants. They are regularly surveyed on behalf of Butterfly Conservation by the WoodChip Conservation Volunteers, .
For some years these sites were managed to keep the scrub growth in check and a strip of Fames Rough was regularly rotavated to provide the right conditions for the rare plants (second photo).
Sadly, both these sites are now becoming overgrown with hawthorn and other scrub (third photo), to the point when vital habitat is being lost and it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out surveys. This situation has worsened over several years and predates the current lockdown.
I understand that these areas are now under the control of Surrey County Council and Surrey Wildlife Trust. Can anyone from either of these organisations tell me if any maintenance and ongoing management is planned to restore these vital areas of conservation?
Graham Kenward, Volunteer
The planting in and around the Lagoon is flourishing despite the recent drought and this week's wildflower blooms include Cornflower, Viper's Bugloss, Poppy, Common Mallow, Clover, Tufted Vetch, Birds-foot Trefoil, Daisies, Yellow Sweetclover, White Campion and masses of Kidney Vetch in addition to that planted in previous years. Let's hope the increased Kidney Vetch is good news for the Small Blue butterfly, which may be encouraged to add the Lagoon to its usual haunts.
Wildlife observed included masses of bees, Damselflies and a Small Tortoiseshell, a Broad-bodied Chaser and a young fox, which yelped before running off towards Holly Lane car park. A wild creature observing social distancing!
Regarded as 'scarce' in the UK, this fairly large weevil feeds on the fungus 'King Alfreds' Cakes'. This one was beaten from a rot-hole in a felled Sycamore at Banstead Wood. Its' specific name is Platyrhinus resinosus.