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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wed 9th April 2014 - Golden Hill Fort, Freshwater.

Mark's Photographs.

Sue's Photographs.

Carrie's Photograph.

The trip out to West Wight was much quicker this week as the Bouldner Road is now open again - so no detour! This GG session at Golden Hill Fort was the 15th one held there and....true to form..... "recreational wheelbarrowing" was our task for the day. Over the years, the Rangers have gradually increased the amount of stone chippings that they pre-dump, ready for our path laying skills. This time they came up with a cunning new plan involving pre-dumping around 6 tonnes (just to give us a false sense of security) then keep topping them up with the trailer throughout the session.....sneaky eh! At a rough guess we managed to barrow around 12 tonnes during the session, which was pretty good considering how muddy the paths had become during the VERY wet winter. It is not so bad when the pathway is close to the drop point but as you get further and further away, the conga line of barrows becomes somewhat erratic. Other members of the team worked hard at cutting back all the undergrowth that was overhanging the pathways. Oh well, I am sure that all the dog walkers will be appreciative of our efforts? There were certainly a few tired bodies by going home time - so a huge well done to everyone who came along. Fort Victoria next week, wonder if the Rangers will dare to push their luck there.. 15 tonnes....????

STOP PRESS... If you haven't already done so, then have a look at the all new Green Gym web site. Sue and Terry have done a wonderful job of revamping the whole thing, it looks great! This link should work (fingers crossed)

Carrie's Nature Natter.

April is an amazing month for wildlife, as the trees and shrubs burst into leaf with fresh, vibrant green foliage, and the woodland floor can be a mass of white wood anemone, ramsons, and later in the month is packed with bluebells.  In our meadows cuckoo flowers, green winged orchid, cowslip and adders tongue are steadily emerging.

While our overwintering bird visitors such as redwings, fieldfares, swans, geese and waders leave in April, the summer visitors which replace them include house martins and many warblers such as whitethroats, marsh, sedge and willow warblers.  The three birds that most signify summer are the swallow, nightingale and the cuckoo, while some of our resident bird species such as blue tits and blackbirds may have their first broods.

By April frog’s spawn has become tadpoles, and the adults now leave the ponds to live on land until the Autumn.  They feed on slugs, snails and insects, so are very popular with gardeners.  Adders and slowworms emerge from hibernation and as they are cold blooded, need to bask for long periods in order to get their body temperature up the level where they are fully functional.

Among our mammals badger activity is high by now; sets will have been spring cleaned and adults are making foraging sorties each night.  As their young are born from mid-January to mid-March and remain in the breeding chamber for about eight weeks, the early young will already be appearing above ground in April.

This month also sees the appearance of peacock, orange tip and speckled wood butterflies, and some species of damsel flies can also be spotted on warm days near open water.

Many thanks to Carrie for the photograph and Nature Natter and to Sue for her photographs.

1 comment:

Brian said...

As a frequent user of this path, I was wondering who was making the improvement to this previously-muddy path. Now I know!
Very many thanks!!!