We arranged a last minute work party for Friday 12th February to keep up momentum and stay on top of our clearance area before the Spring. To get a sense of what we were tackling, here’s a shot of Joy and Adrian (my mom and dad) working on the patch at the last work party.
You can see the mass of brambles creeping over from the left, bramble having previously completely taken over the cleared area. What with clashing timetables with Dudley Council we’ve been without green refuse sacks for some time, so there’s a big pile of unwanted vegetation behind Joy, some of which had started to root again. Not to mention, years of garden rubbish hiding amongst the rubble.
So our aims for the day were…
- Get rid of the pile of previously cut vegetation
- Remove litter and unwanted ‘presents’
- Clear remnants of bramble from the cleared patch
- Start on the encroaching bramble, creeping over the entrance fence
- Look out for the first signs of Scarlet Tiger caterpillars!
Even with the short notice we had a cracking turnout, with 9 merry members in total. Mainly West Midlands Butterfly Conservation members and locals, with a couple of willing partners coming along to support.
We moved all of the unwanted vegetation, finding plenty of litter along the way. Then we targeted random bramble that had avoided our clutches first time round. And we attacked the encroaching bramble!
Patrick said he had spotted caterpillars along the verge on Sandy Lane so myself and Joy went to investigate…
Hurrah! The first Scarlet Tiger caterpillars we’ve seen this year. Reliably found on the Evergreen Alkanet.
As you can see, they were ‘Very Hungry (Scarlet Tiger) Caterpillars’. They were also pooping like troopers, if you must know… In total we counted about 20 while the sun was out. Once the clouds moved in, the caterpillars moved out (or into the undergrowth).
Birds included Robins (you can always rely on them to cheer you on), blackbirds, house sparrows, wrens, blue tits, great tits and long tailed tits.
After a little more work it was time to admire our hard work and reward ourselves with a coffee and a chat.
And now for the team photo. Everyone say cheeeeeese!
After one shot, the usual disorder resumed.
A very successful and enjoyable morning was had by all, I hope they’d agree.
Our next work party date is set for Friday 4th March at 10am by the noticeboard (see above). To find out more about the next party visit the event page on Facebook HERE. We’re all volunteers so help from people who are interested in digging in is always more than welcome. We hope to prepare the area for more wildflower seeding. Bring on the colour! Please contact us via the Get In Touch page to find out more.
Thanks for reading.