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Friday, 17 September 2010

Wed 15th Sept 2010 - Millenium Green, Ryde.

Eddie's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

Our second visit in recent weeks to Millenium Green community area, continuing the work previously started. The strong winds had eventually died down and it was quite a warm day, when about 30 volunteers set to on the tasks in hand. Further clearance work was done in and around the area near the pond, then the vegetation was stacked in neat piles. Another group were in the wildflower meadow which has undergone an extensive re-generation since we got rid of the bramble which had infested it, and there were still a lot of bees and a few butterflies taking advantage of the plants which still had flowers on them. Our first task was to collect as many of the seed heads from the plants as we could in a large bucket, which were then transported to the pond area to be scattered around in the hope they will regenerate this area in the same way. We then proceeded to cut back the dead areas and bramble round the edges, but leaving those plants still in flower for the bees and butterflies.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

Just a note on my lesson from last week - good job I don’t identify fungi for a living! Now my resident expert has returned from his holiday I showed him the picture of the one we found last week at Ventnor Botanic Gardens, and he instantly identified it as a Deathcap! Oops! This is one of the most poisonous European toadstools, all parts of the fungus are deadly and it should never be eaten.

This week’s finds are firstly a Sloe Bug (one of a group of insects known as Shield bugs) Polycoris Baccarum also known as a “Hairy Bug”. This unmistakeable species is one of the very few shield bugs in our part of the world with ringed antennae, which give the impression of being “double”. The eggs are deposited in spring with the larvae being seen on various plants, especially those of the rose family, in the summer. Neither the larvae or adults have ever been seen feeding on Sloes, and the origin of its name has been lost in the mists of time. The adults appear at the end of summer on berry bearing shrubs, with their slow method of flight producing a low humming sound. They are also known as stink bugs because they leave behind a stinking substance on all berries they walk on, making them totally inedible. This substance is made for protection as a bird or other enemy will eat only one bug in its entire life, as it will always remember the dreadful taste. The second find is a plant known as “Woody Nightshade” (Solanum Dulcamara), the most common of the Nightshade family. It scrambles through hedges and shrubs entwining the branches, with clusters of purple flowers each with five petals and a golden cone (anther) in the centre of each. These are followed by glossy, oval berries which are red when ripe and VERY poisonous. The plant is also the source of a drug used for skin diseases and chest problems.

Many thanks to Carrie and Eddie for their contributions.

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