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Whistle while you workparty

Posted: Wednesday 27th September 2017 by foulshaw-moss-osprey-viewpoint

A brief rundown of some of the more notable work parties I've been able to help with

Drone work in Smardale

On Wednesday the 13th Wal, Isaac and I spent the day up at Smardale nature reserve near Kirkby Stephen, with the intention of mapping the canopy of the reserve with our DJI Inspire 1 Pro drone. Wal (the reserve manager) wanted this done due to the large number of mature ash (‎Fraxinus excelsior) to create a reference point before the canopy is lost this autumn, and before ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) really takes its toll.

Just in case you're unaware ash dieback is a fungal disease that causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees and often leads to tree death.
Ash trees showing symptoms are now widespread across Europe and in 2012 it was detected for the first time in Britain – initially in a consignment of infected trees sent from the Netherlands to a nursery in the south of England, but later in trees planted in the natural environment.
Surveys have now confirmed the presence of ash dieback disease at more than 150 locations in England and Scotland, including established woodlands.

Strimming at Howe Ridding

With Joe, I've been attending several work parties at Howe Ridding, opening up a beautiful butterfly ride, by cutting long grass and brush, and then removing it to compost piles.
This is done to prevent the nutrients returning to the ground, preventing the grasses and brush growing back as strong and allowing wildflowers to take advantage of the nutrient deficient soil.


Hay meadow restoration

On Tuesday the 19th, Sian and I helped Christa with the last of the plug planting at Haybridge nature reserve. Over half a dozen work parties, 6,500 plants needed to be planted – on our work party we had the final 1,300 left to plant between 8 of us.

This huge number of plants was necessary because on the site there is a very large population of deer, and they will almost certainly eat a large percentage of the seedlings. Such a large number of these seedlings protects the population as a whole – at least some will survive!
Hay meadows are a declining habitat and are very beneficial to butterfly populations, and these fields are standing empty for most of the year. This makes them perfect candidate fields for the restoration project.

Park-Wood work party

On Wednesday 20th I was given charge of my first work party. Wal, while having a track day with his father-in-law, put me in charge of a work party he had organised at Park Wood Nature Reserve.
It was fairly simple as far as work, parties go, thistle pulling, brush cutting, and widening the rides. However, due to the terrible weather forecast, only a handful of people (myself included) turned up.
Unfortunately, it took all morning to finish pulling the several hundred thistles on the walk into the reserve, but we made good progress in the afternoon, managing to move the treeline back by a metre or so, and removing a lot of dense brush.
Plus I seen not only my first Green woodpecker (Picus viridis) but also my 2nd and 3rd too!




I’m sorry for the delay in updates again, these amongst other work parties keep me away from my keyboard and make it difficult to keep on top of the blog posts, but hopefully I’ll be able to update you about my placement in a fortnight as usual. See you then!
P.S. the Blue Planet 2 trailer just dropped as I was finishing the blog, and it looks absolutely breathtaking! I'm sure you'll have all seen it by now, however if not here's the link.

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