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Thursday 30 August 2007

Wed 29th Aug 2007 - Skinner's Meadow.

This week saw us helping Wight Nature Fund again, baling hay at Skinner's Meadow. They have still not been able to get into the marsh proper due to the peat still holding the moisture. A section of the field had been cut and turned, so all we had to do was rake the rows, feed the bailer and then stack the bales at the bottom of the the field. Although there was only 10 of us (including John - the warden) we still managed to bale three quaters of the field. They cut at this time of the year so that the wild flower seeding is easier and once this is completed then the cattle are brought in to graze the grass to around Christmas time. In the spring the meadow is full of wild flowers with the peak time for them being May and June. A fairly new plant to the meadow (although it is found in Newtown) is yellow rattle - this is a parasetic plant which keeps the grass down by attaching itself to the roots. Not so many butterflies as last time although we did see a common darter - this one was a female as it was brown - appartently the males are red.

Thursday 23 August 2007

Wed 22nd Aug 2007 - Ventnor Botanical Gardens.

A visit to Ventnor Botanic Gardens was the job this week - I think they must do their best to find really difficult jobs for us, but of course we always rise to the challenge...!!!!!!!!!! An area along the costal path - named the Coastal Meadow - needed a large area of bank cleared to reveal old terraces which had been started some years ago. They were now completely covered in thick bramble, blackthorn and nettles. Trish (from the Garden's staff) started us off with a hedge cutter as the path was fairly narrow and then we all got stuck in with saws, slashers and sheer hard work. It was amazing that once we had cleared the area about three common darter dragonflies appeared and we also saw several very large cabbage white butterflies and even a red admiral - certainly a real treat...!
The text and photographs were supplied by Carrie.......many thanks...!

Friday 17 August 2007

Wed 15th Aug 2007 - Kitbridge Farm.

The tasks this week were at the Kitbridge Farm site - needless to say it involved ponds...! Our regular readers will be aware that we visit this site regularly during the year and the majority of work is clearing overgrown ponds to help the great crested newts re-establish themselves. This job was to the south of the farm along the land boundry with the new housing estate. As can be seen from the pictures above, the pond was extremely overgrown and took the full efforts of those attending to clear the area in the alloted time.....but we managed.....somehow...!
We had a group of primary school children to give us a hand and they seem to have enjoyed themselves and to have been very interested in the information that Mark (the farm owner) gave them during a walk around the area.
Many thanks to our cub reporter - Carrie - for the photographs above....... especially as she went through so much effort to get there...!!!! We hope you found the car again....

Sunday 12 August 2007

Wed 8th Aug 2007 - Alverstone Marsh.

This week the Green Gymers were back for the second (recent) visit to Alverstone Marsh - and this time the sun was shining...! John (the warden) had managed to do some cutting in Skinner's Meadow, although the lower marsh area is still too wet. The field had been divided into two, with one part ready for baling and the other area where the hay needed turning over to help the drying process. We divided into two teams and set about our alloted tasks.
The meadows are cut to encourage all the beautiful flowers and butterflies, with the resulting hay bales (just the ones from Skinner's Meadow) being used for animal fodder. The lower field is not of such a high quality hay but is used for bedding around nursery plants. This year has seen lots of ox-eyed daisies - and (for the first time) orchids at the top end of the field. There were a lots of gatekeeper butterflies and even a brown bush cricket was spotted......neither stayed around long enough for photographs to be taken...!
Many thanks to Carrie for some of the pictures and the editorial - and to Hilary for a couple of the photographs.
P.S. From the blog writer - I notice that Derek always manages to get in the shots somewhere...!

Thursday 2 August 2007

Wed 1st Aug 2007 - Sunnycrest Nurseries.

This week we were at Sunnycrest Nurseries on a glorious, hot, sunny day. We had three tasks - making a pathway, sorting some logs for use as seats and building bird and bug boxes to be sold at the nursery. As can be seen from the pictures above, the guys were hard at work making the pathway and lots of high quality bird and bug boxes were built - don't they look fantastic.....?
Pictures and editorial contributed by our cub report Carrie.......many thanks to her.