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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wed 10th Oct 2012 - Bee Fields, Newchurch.

Once again, this week's GG session was held at a new site for us - this time it was at the Bee Fields, Newchurch. The area we were working in is to the east of Newchurch village and is part of the nature reserve known as Martin's Wood. Originally this area was farmland but around 10 years ago it was planted with trees and shrubs to become the wonderful area for nature that it is today. Our task was to clear areas of grassland between the trees to provide open ground for some of the 70 types of bees that are established here. The bees are solitary - they do not live in swarms - and live in small holes burrowed into the soil. The light sandy soil here seems to suit their needs and it is amazing to see just how many bore holes there are. To encourage more to the area, we were lifting the top layer of grass and piling it on the edges of the cleared areas as apparently some bee species prefer to burrow into a bank rather that down into the soil.

Considering all the rain we have had recently, the weather held good for us and the sun even broke through a couple of times. With plenty of people attending this session, some were deployed to collect up the rabbit guards from the trees that had outgrown them.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

Two finds this week - the first was a lovely Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) - catching the sunshine on the top of someone's car.  This stunning butterfly is a common sight in gardens during the summer.  They love plants such as buddleias, michelmas daisies, ice plants, flowering ivy and even rotting fruit.  There can be sightings as late as November on sunny days, and they have even been spotted during December, January and February, a time when few other butterfly species appear.  

The second find was Centaury (Centaurium Erythraea) a low-growing biennial found on sand dunes, heaths, woodland rides, quarries and other dry, grassy areas. It is in bloom between June and September and, like other members of the gentian family, its pink flowers close during the afternoon.  It has small, pink, five-petalled flowers held in clusters at the top of the stems, a rosette of oval leaves at the base of the stem and oval leaves appear in opposite pairs up the stem as well.

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