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Blog Archive

IoW GG links

To look at the Isle of Wight Green Gym web page (contains details of sessions etc) please use the following link :-

The link to Twitter is

If you would like to leave us any comments then please use this link

Thursday 30 January 2014

Wed 29th Jan 2014 - Afton Marsh, Freshwater.

With the extraordinary amounts of rain we have had recently, almost everyone arrived at the GG session this week with wellington boots - especially as we were working on the marsh. Perhaps a better plan would have been to have come along with flippers and a snorkel..... goodness me it was wet! Not to be deterred by such trivial matters, we were soon paddling off to the work site, transporting everything in wheelbarrows (boats might have been a better option). We were tasked to continue the clearance work that we have tackled many times here in the past, so it was best foot forward (carefully!)   to cut and pile the trees and shrubs. We were hoping to burn some of the previously cut debris but in spite of several people trying their very best to kindle a fire, the damp material proved to be just too much of an issue.  For information, the tree stumps are left as high as shown (see photos above) so they can be treated at a later date. Excellent progress was with clearing the designated area and hopefully we will return at a later date (when everything has dried out a bit) to get a REAL fire going!
We did have a sprinkling of rain during the session but nowhere near as much as had been forecasted, thank goodness.

Talking of rain, Mark suggested that the next scheduled GG session might have to be changed due to high water levels at the site. Please check the web site for details BEFORE going along next Wednesday.

Many thanks to Mark for the photographs.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Wed 22nd Jan 2014 - Corf Camp, Shafleet.

Carrie's Photos.

Mark's Photo.

The mission for the GGmers this week was to give the Scouts' Camp at Corf an early "spring clean and tidy up around the grounds". The land adjacent to the new accommodation block was VERY overgrown so it was decided that we should clear as much as possible and build a dead hedge with the cut material. Excellent progress was made with this task and by the time we had finished, the area looked far more in keeping with the new, very upmarket building. Due to the limitations of working space, many other were busy elsewhere around the site - tackling cutting back, ditching and general tidying. Once again, we had an excellent turnout (welcome to the ones who came along for the first time...!) and the weather stayed dry - amazing when you consider how much rain we have been getting recently.

Mark's Nature Note.

The Brimstone butterfly photo is an early sighting of one on the wing but the nice weather obviously tempted her out. They do overwinter as adults, the insect appeared to be 'shivering' in fact it was vibrating its flight muscles to warm itself.

Many thanks to Mark for the photographs and Nature Note and to Carrie for her photographs.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Wed 15th Jan 2014 - Parkhurst Forest, Newport.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

With the rain still bucketing down at 09:30, it was one of those Wednesday morning where you think "Shall I bother going to GG this week?" Having grabbed the waterproofs, it was off to Parkhurst Forest car park only to find the place packed with GGmers cars - what a hardy bunch! In fact, the rain eased off for the majority of the session with just a short, sharp shower mid morning. As we were working some distance from the main car park, it took some time to organise the car convoy, open and close gates etc and head off north west along the forest tracks. Our task was to clear an area that had been felled of trees sometime ago but had now become overgrown with self seeded saplings and shrubs. Mark explained that this particular area of the forest was one of the few areas where some of the rarer butterflies (see Nature Note below) had been seen in the past but they preferred open places where wild flowers grew. By clearing the area it is hoped that the wild flowers will grow once again, thereby encouraging the butterflies back. Kitted out with bow saws and lopers, we were soon spread across the site, cutting back everything in sight and piling it into neat habitat piles. The hedge laying work that some had done previously was put to good use for making the stakes to contain the piles of cut material.
Considering that some time was lost to getting to the site, it was amazing to see just how much was achieved in the time available. It just goes to show, don't let the rain put you off going out - there is no such thing as bad weather, if you are getting cold or wet then you are just not wearing the right clothes....!

Nature Note.

The area we helped clear has been home to the Grizzled Skipper butterfly in the past. For further information, please use the link below.

Shown in the photograph above is the caterpillar of the Oak Eggar moth. This one was photographed (found by Helen) and then carefully re-homed so as not to disturb it further during our clearance work. Click on the link below for further details.

Many thanks to Carrie and Mark for the photographs.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Wed 8th Jan 2014 - One Horse Field, Totland.

Mark's Photographs.

Carrie's Photographs.

Considering how diabolical the weather has been recently, we were surprised to have dry weather for our first session of 2014. Although the access pathways were a bit muddy underfoot, the areas we were tasked to work in were reasonably dry and somewhat sheltered from the brisk breeze. Armed with lopers and slashers, we were soon clearing the overgrown areas along the western boundary of the field. To ensure that this area remains as much a meadow site as possible, we were chopping back the black thorn and bramble that continually grows from the hedgerows.
Perhaps it was the need to burn off a few calories after the festive period or just the joy of being out on a dry day that was the reason for an excellent turnout of GGmers. Not even Island Roads, who tried to shut every road to West Wight, could keep the team from attending..... so well done to all those who made the effort.

Carrie's Nature Natter for January.

January days are short, and if it ever stops raining, you may see some crisp and bright days, where leaves and lawns look very pretty with their covers of frost, and spider webs shimmer with their pearls of ice.

Many bird species have migrated south, but waders, ducks and geese will be feeding on our coasts and wetlands, flocks of redwings and fieldfares are moving through the countryside, and smaller birds will be visiting garden bird tables to find enough food to see them through to spring.

If you have been feeding the birds regularly, give yourself a gold star, if not it’s never too late to start, and can make a huge difference to their survival.  Also if you have nest boxes, make sure they are cleaned out and ready for business, as blue tits and great tits will soon be searching for the best nesting spots. As the month moves on thrushes start singing to claim their territories, and on sunny days you may hear great tits, greenfinches, blackbirds and, if you are very lucky, the drumming sound of the great spotted woodpecker.

Badgers, hedgehogs and bats have been hibernating over the winter, as their food supplies get short or are difficult to reach, although a slightly warmer day may encourage them to venture out.  You will know if you have badgers around by the scratch and pad marks on their regular pathways and, as they are undeterred by wire fences, you may see also see their stiff hairs caught in the wire twists.

Our amphibians and reptiles all hibernate during the winter, but in January the first newts will moving towards their breeding areas, and the spawn of the common frog will start to appear in our garden ponds.

Many thanks to Carrie for her photographs and Nature Natter and to Mark for his photos.