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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wed 18th March 2015 - Castle Copse, East Cowes.

Mark's Photographs.

This is the site where 200 trees were planted in 2013.

Carrie's Photographs.

It is almost one year, to the day, since we last visited this site so nice to go back and see what has been happening. Initial impressions were good with the hedge we planted last time starting to show signs of this years growth. As we investigated further, it became apparent that there were more than enough jobs to keep us occupied for at least one GG session...! Mark pointed out some of the areas for us to concentrate on which meant lots of smaller groups working across the full extent of the copse. The work involved dealing with muddy areas on the pathways, weeding out where we had planted up before, rebuilding some dead hedging, litter picking and, of course, the usual cutting back the bramble. Perhaps the numbers were down by a few this week but it was great to see that two GG members were back from "sick leave".
With the Spring Equinox due in a couple of days time, the weather reflected this - bright sunshine and light breezes - wonderful after the long winter spell.

For those of you who have wondered why it is called Castle Copse, then please have a look at the following link (supplied by Mark)

Carrie's Nature Find.

This week’s find, sunning itself on a log at teabreak, was a Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta).  These beautiful butterflies have dark black-brown wings, each with an orange-red band, forewing tips are black with white spots, while the underside is orange, blue and white and hindwings camouflaged dark brown.

After hibernation, adults have a strong urge to fly northwards, bringing immigrants from the Continent throughout the summer. By mid-August they begin to return south, leading to a build-up in southern England in autumn. During the summer females lay single eggs on the growing tips of nettles, and after about a week the caterpillars hatch with each one spinning a tent around itself by fastening a young leaf double with silk. Four weeks later these caterpillars, which are bristly and dark with a pale yellow stripe running down each side, pupate in a similar ‘tent’. Adults may hibernate in England, usually choosing an exposed site such as a tree trunk, but many perish in our cooler climate.

The adults drink nectar from flowers: buddleia is a favourite, while in autumn they feed on rotting fruit, and the caterpillars eat stinging nettles. You will be able to see the adults and caterpillars between May and October in most flowery places at urban and rural locations, feeding on a variety of flowers and basking in the sunshine.

A note from Mark...
"Apart from the Red Admiral some of us spotted a Brimstone too, which would also have emerged after a winter hibernating. We also saw evidence that hedgehogs had been using the copse recently."

Many thanks to Carrie for her photographs, Nature Find and to Mark for his photographs, information.

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