Help, Hoppers, and Heath

Thursday, October 6th 2016

Thursday for me felt different from the start. My first job of the day was to take my little van to Hutton Magna to pick up some seed/chaff from a farm. We gain this seed from the grain grading system which would be waste but is valuable for our wild birds on the reserve. It was mainly rape seed , but the amounts were in the form of two bulging bumpy bags.

Once back at the reserve the Thursday team set about bagging up the seed into more manageable sacks for easy future hopper distribution. The seed is fairly fine and bullfinches certainly seem to enjoy it ! As we had the seed in smaller bags we decided to check and fill the 9 hopper feeders scattered around the reserve, from the Field Centre to the Lake. This is a wheel barrow job which takes a few journeys back and forth to restock at the seed shed.

While I had been away doing the carting the team were busy raking up brambles from a previous days brush cutting, then we were back on the Heath pulling , digging out all the shrubs we do not want there. As mentioned on a regular basis in the blog , it is a big job that can take weeks to complete, but is important as we would not have a heath if left without such intense management.

You can see in  the above photo, the scale of the job.... with Willow and Birch clearly visible. The below photo shows the size of roots that need to be pulled/popped, in this case a Hawthorn.

As we made our way around the fringe of the heath I found two Shield Bugs, a Forest Shield-Bug

and also this Green or Gorse Shield Bug , as yet I am unsure , so please get back to me if you know for certain .

This 7cm caterpillar was found yesterday near the Sand Martin Colony, north of the Scrapes. It has been identified as a Buff -tip Moth caterpillar, the adult comes readily to our moth trap and is a fantastic mimic of a piece of Silver Birch.

Buff Tip moth adult

Today has certainly ticked a few jobs of the list, I know I say it all the time but 'thank you' to all the volunteers for their hard work today... I think we will sleep well tonight ! 


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