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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday 27th May 2015 - The IoW Donkey Sanctuary, Wroxall.

Sue's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

An area after clearance.

Curious onlookers!

Mark's Photographs.

Weevils - thought to be Phyllobius.

After the "holiday" at the seaside for the last Green Gym session, it was back to the countryside this Wednesday. Now the weather is finally starting to warm up, it is back to that favourite GG pastime of PPP - otherwise known as Pesky Plant Pulling...! Frequent readers of this blog will remember that we have visited this particular site many times in the past, trying to stop the dreaded Himalayan Balsam from taking over (use this link for details - Himalayan balsam/RHS Gardening ). As we spread ourselves out along the stream that runs past the Donkey Sanctury, the initial signs were very good, with none of the tree sized plants that we have become accustomed too. Closer inspection revealed that this year's balsam plants were just a few inches tall and were "hiding" amongst the other plants on the banks of the stream. Perhaps we were a little earlier visiting this year or, the cooler weather had held back their growth? Working on the principle that if you pull a small plant then it stops it growing into a big one, we were soon pulling the delicate shoots as carefully as we could. There certainly seemed to be a lot less than in previous years so perhaps we are making some headway against the spread of this very invasive species. Time will tell on how successful we have been....!
As can be seen in the photographs above, we shared the venue with a variety of animals including horses and sheep.

Carrie's Nature Find.

This week's find by a group of Green Gymmers was a splendid caterpillar - see picture, and identification this week comes from Bob of the Wildline at Hampshire and IW Wildlife Trust who advises the following:-

"This is a caterpillar of The Drinker (Euthrix Potatoria) which is a night flying moth - they over-winter as medium sized caterpillars and then feed up in the spring until they get pretty large (maybe 8cm long), at this stage they often sit around in the sunshine, making them easy to see like this one. The caterpillars eat grasses, including reeds feeding mainly at night, if you go into a reedbed on a still night at this time of year the sound of their crunching can be really loud!  The moth is large and the males reddish, the females yellowish. The moth is generally common, but like so many, not often seen.”

Many thanks to Sue, Carrie and Mark for taking the photographs this week and to Carrie for her Nature Find.

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