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Notes from the Field: Autumn

Posted: Wednesday 1st November 2017 by Lewis Goldwater

October

Volunteer Training Courses

Thanks to a small grant from Tesco “Bags for Help” we have been able to provide emergency outdoor first-aid training to a group of our volunteers. This essential training will give the volunteers a broader range of knowledge in dealing with the kinds of injuries/situations they may face when working on our reserves. Let’s hope it is never needed!

The funding has also paid for some volunteers to receive chainsaw training courses, which was recently held at Wessington Pasture nature reserve. In doing so, they were helping to thin out some of the woodland there which was also in our work programme for the site.
 

Scrub work at Stockings Meadow

We have started scrub cutting at Stockings Meadow with a second volunteer day there, work this time which has been funded by ENTRUST. A productive day all round with a big fire to keep everyone’s spirits up.
 

September

Titley Pool

Volunteers getting down and dirty while clearing upstream and downstream of the pool’s dam of silt and vegetation. This is essential work at Titley Pool in order to protect the dam from damage and allow it to be inspected annually for its structural integrity. Pictures show before, during and after!

  

Parish Field

We carry out and annual cut of the grassland on this small site in the Wye Valley, removing the course vegetation that would otherwise overgrow the rarer and more interesting wildflowers that emerge in the spring and summer. Image shows Tom and Nick hard at work.


Even at this time of year there is great wildlife to be found. We often flush some of the lower-lying species out as we are working on the sites.
Common Toads are well hidden and easily overlooked with their mottled skin colouration but can be seen when disturbed after the thatch has been cut.



This colourful Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda) moth caterpillar transforms into a rather less distinctive but commonly found adult. The hairs on the caterpillar can be an irritant so it is best not to handle it (our volunteers are made of stern stuff though!). One of its larval food plants is hops - it was previously known as ‘Hop-dog’ when it was a pest to commercial Hop growers.

Parky Meadow

In mid-September, the Thursday volunteer work party spent a day at Parky Meadow cutting rough grassland and controlling invasive weeds. They were also cutting back trees and branches that had broken and fallen onto the stock fences around the site.


A late year dragonfly – Common Darter can be seen up to October and were on the wing at Parky Meadow while we were there.
Apart from the later flight season, their yellow striped legs distinguish them from Ruddy Darter which has all black legs.

About Lewis

Lewis is currently working with the Trust in his forth role! Having started as a LEMUR Trainee he went on to manage the Herefordshire Parklands Project and recently the final months of the Pooling Together Project and is now the Assistant Reserves Officer. In between these roles he worked for Natural England, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and The Cart Shed and he also runs his own greenwood craft business.

  

Read Lewis Goldwater's latest blog entries.

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