We used a different contractor this year (producing lager bales which are cheaper and use less plastic). Unfortunately there was no opportunity for volunteer help. The good news is that, unlike last year when we were unable to get a crop because of the wet summer, we now have lots of nice dry hay for the cattle in the winter
These wildflowers were in the crop and are visible from Aldcliffe Rd. It will be harvested soon so hurry along if you want to catch a glimpse. Meanwhile 6 of us accompanied Graeme Skelcher in surveying the margins and were pleased that the resowing of the Aldcliffe Rd margin has produced results for the first time this year. We also saw a Comma, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Large and Small White butterflies and a Silver Y moth plus lots of bumblebees.
With School Pond dry for the first time in several years, two plants have taken advantage. The one spotted by Graham (14 July) has been identified as marsh cudweed:
It has now been joined by creeping yellow cress:
By the eastern gate there is a patch of common knotgrass, which is too straggly to photograph easily.
Further sightings in the Hay Meadow marsh include common fleabane:
There has been a good patch of this near the Cromwell Road gate in previous year but it seems to be spreading with clumps by Cromwell’s Pond and elsewhere.
Also a woody nightshade and hogweed:
Once again I forgot to post Jonathan’s message to advertise this session but for the record, here is what we did:
Ten volunteers attended the monthly Saturday volunteering session on a hot, sunny morning.
- The final Orchard bench vista was cleared by lowering the hedge levels on either side of the Pads footpath.
- Ragwort was dug out from the Paddock, the northern section of Big Meadow, the Big Meadow marsh and from the hay meadows.
- Vegetation enveloping the apple trees alongside the Pads footpath was cut out and carted away.
- Dock flowering heads in the Orchard were cut off to prevent seeding.
- Invasive vegetation around the new saplings in the Old Damson Copse was cut out and cleared away.
- Bramble growing in the Big Meadow marsh was cut back. I think this is more a job for the scything group as it is difficult to disentangle the bramble from the rush.
- Bulrushes dug out of Cromwell Pond.
Went to take a couple of pictures of school pond whilst it is totally dry. Was surprised to find what I thought was grass growing (when looking from the FAUNA path) is something different. It appears to be some sort of lush, soft plant but I haven’t a clue what it might be. Anybody got any ideas?
A single, female, row deer spotted crossing West Field on the morning of 12th July.
On ragworting duty again yesterday, this time venturing into the marsh in Big Meadow.
Good clumps of meadow vetchling
: and also a common spotted orchid:
But a rather better specimen found later in the Hay Meadow:
Wandering around this morning digging out ragwort from the very dry marsh. (More than expected, but still on the decline overall.) In addition to Nieduszynska’s flower (purple loosestrife) I think, I found a group of self-heal:
Meadowsweet along the border with Lucy Brook is expanding nicely:
And there are a good number of St John’s wort plants scattered around (this one being worked by a bee – brown dot in the middle of the photo!). In fact, most of the yellow flowers in the marsh that can be seen from the Fauna path are St John’s wort rather than ragwort.