It’s all about the plants

As you may have guessed from the post title we’ve been dealing with plants a lot this week.

On Tuesday we were out with the Northern Group up at Black Brook doing a few odd jobs. To start with we were cutting down any conifer regeneration on the area that is currently reverting back to moorland. It was once a conifer plantation but the trees were all removed a few years ago and now you can spot heather, bilberry and Hare’s-tail cotton grass as you wander around. There were lots of butterflies flying around, Orange-Tips and Whites and amongst the vegetation was a huge number of big fat black slugs. At tea break we were treated to the sight of a curlew, with it’s brilliant call, and at lunch time one of the volunteers caught a handsome longhorn beetle.

A few years ago this was all conifer trees!
A few years ago this was all conifer trees!

After lunch we were freeing the deciduous saplings from their spiral tree guards. It was a pretty disgusting task, as lots of the tree guards were full of muck and the most vile green slime I’ve ever seen. It was like some weird form of tree snot. I’m sure without all of that muck the trees are going to benefit a lot more and hopefully everywhere is deer proofed now so they shouldn’t get nibbled on.

It was back to Citronella spraying on Wednesday, this time at Brankley. We were working in a part where we had done some pulling last year but in the end there had been so much it ended up being cut. There was a lot there, especially compared to Casey last week. I was put in charge for the day which meant keeping the lines in order. That was made a little more difficult by the fact we didn’t have the blue poles we often use to mark where we’d been. We didn’t manage too badly though and hopefully there should be less for us to pull later in the year. Lucy left at lunchtime so I was properly in charge and responsible for getting all the equipment and volunteers back to the centre. All went smoothly so I should be trusted to lead the group again in future πŸ™‚

Some of the Midweekers
Some of the Midweekers at lunchtime
A little Froghopper - Cercopis vulnerata There was LOTS of cuckoo spit around over the last two days
A Froghopper – Cercopis vulnerata
There was LOTS of cuckoo spit around over the last two days

Today was a bit wet for spraying so I was reunited with my trusty friends the loppers and bow saw to deal with some errant willows in some other areas of Brankley. When we first got there the air was filled with the sounds of a cuckoo and a quick scan revealed it perched on the top of a dead tree. Other avian sightings, as we were working, included a hovering kestrel, two skylarks having a fight and some swallows swooping overhead. The heavy rain that had been forecast for today held off until we made it home as well! Happy days!

Brankley is looking rather beautiful at the minute!
Brankley is looking rather beautiful at the minute!
Where's the rain?
Where’s the rain?

As can be imagined with all this work with plants I’ve got some new wildflowers to add to my ‘things-I-know’ list. It’s getting pretty long now!

Next week we’ll be somewhere in the middle of Stafford building a board walk.



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