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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wed 2nd Oct 2013 - The Bee Fields, Newchurch.

Our GG session this week was at the Bee Fields, on the outskirts of Newchurch. The area we were working in is known as Martin's Wood, which is to the west of the recreation ground, towards Alverstone Garden Village. Our task was to continue the work we had started here some time ago - removing areas of turf to expose the sandy soil - which then allows the ground burrowing bees to dig their tunnels. The turf that is removed is then piled up around the cleared site as some of the 70 species of bee that inhabit this site prefer to burrow into banks rather than the ground. Our previous clearance efforts had become covered with patchy grass but there was an amazing amount of bee activity in those particular areas. A second working party went around removing and collecting the rabbit guards from the trees that had outgrown them.

Although the sky was overcast, the session remained dry throughout and the temperature was perhaps a little above seasonal average. There was a good turnout and many a new "housing estates" were created for the bees. One joke (?) overheard.....they only need small areas as they are BEEJOU homes..!

Mark's Message.

A return to Newchurch this week to Martin's Wood otherwise known as Gift to Nature's Bee Fields.  A site which until around a decade ago was growing crops such as sweetcorn.  The soil here is sandy however and so the the area was then planted up as woodland.  This act has transformed the field's ecology in the past decade as the now untilled bare ground has been used by more and more mining and solitary bees and wasps.  An incredible 96 species of bee and wasp of which 23 are nationally rare and 3 completely new to the Island!  These small busy little bees are no threat to anyone however as they buzz around preoccupied with mining their nest holes.
As the years progress so the ground cover increases and that's where we come in as we skim off some of the growth to increase the amount of bare ground and coppice scallops off of the many paths which criss-cross the area.
We were rewarded by the sight of hundreds of Ivy Bees (Colletes hederae).

Many thanks to Mark for the photographs and message.

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