Wednesday June 24th:
This morning I met Katie at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust office for 9am. She takes a group of practical conservation volunteers out to reserves every Wednesday but as the majority of the group are made up of students (who have now gone home for the summer) it turned out that I was the only one there.
When I’m not working on a Wednesday I tend to go to sites with Jamie, the Wildlife in the City Youth Officer. We supervise youth offenders who choose to do practical conservation work as part of their community payback. He’s away at the moment so Katie was in charge today and we headed out to Moorbridge Pond in Bulwell to start work.
When we arrived, Katie got a message from the Youth Offending Team Officer saying that they weren’t able to attend so it ended up being just us two. There was quite alot of work to be done on the reserve as it had become rather overgrown so Katie suggested that we both start off using the brushcutters to widen the paths. I’d borrowed some steel toe boots from the office and because it was only the two of us, she was able to train me on how to use the tools safely including fueling; ‘cold starting’, normal start, and safety features. It was very exciting 🙂 We set off working in different directions. I was worried that I might accidentally chop up a mouse or frog but thankfully that didn’t happen! We cut the undergrowth about half a metre back on either side of the path, then raked and cleared the cuttings.
It was a really hot day today and in the helmet, ear protectors and steel toe boots I was boiling! Still, I thoroughly enjoyed learning to use a new tool and it wasn’t half as scary as I’d thought it might be. It even made me think that maybe now I could handle the pole chainsaw that I was given a chance to use a couple of years back with the Conservation Society – that had made me incredibly nervous!
The hot weather brought out lots of flies that were settling around the cuttings. I recently joined a couple of insect recording groups on Facebook so I was keeping a keen eye out for anything interesting – not that I wouldn’t know it if I saw it! The colours on some of the flies were wonderful; iridescent blues and greens. I also saw what I believe to be a Common White Wave, Cabera pusaria, and a cool green bug of some sort that was almost indistinguishable from the leave it was sitting on.
The wetland nature of the site means that it’s home to an abundance of dragonflies and damselflies. I saw plenty of Azure and Common Blues, as well as some Large Reds but it was almost impossible to get a decent photo of them with my phone. Luckily, these two were quite still and I got this picture of two Azure Damselflies mating in a ‘wheel formation’ which I prefer to think of as a lovely heart shape 🙂
The reserve is made mostly from reedbeds and woodlands so tends to be quite shaded. I didn’t see many wild flowers – other than the usual thistles, buttercups, brambles and campion but I spotted this delicate and unusual looking plant of the campion family.
It’s been a really fun and exciting day. I just had time to take a quick shower before heading off to work. Here is a before and after photograph of one of the paths…
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