Furry Friends!!

Our furry friends are back… Or did they ever actually leave?

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Cannot help but go, “aah, cute…” but when we are getting through a bucket of fat-balls every other week, maybe the novelty wears a bit thin.

Great use of our observation bench, that’s hidden away on the opposite bank, though.

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This is the view without the zoom.

This adds yet another facet to the path. I cannot tell you how peaceful it is to just sit with a cup of coffee and a camera, and just chill-out with nature, identify what is spotted and then update iRecord.

We had a bit of storm damage in the next clearing.

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Luckily, the blue tits in the fallen box had recently fledged, and the upside-down box did not get used this year. Maybe worth thinking about how securely the boxes are put up in the first place, and yes it was me who put these ones up!!

Other than that, it was a pretty chilled out day where we avoided most of the rain, for Phil, Sharon, Aaron and myself.

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We just snipped back anything that looked like it was growing across the path in an effort to keep the balance between a great path for walking, running or mountain-biking, and a fantastic habitat for wildlife.

Wildflowers spotted:

dog rose

Dog Rose

Plenty more, but being very wet and cloudy meant that most flowers did the sensible thing and remained tucked-up in bed.

Well, that is about it for this week. Our coffee and cookie break was on the hoof this week, due to a lack of picnic tables in this bit, but still good to enjoy a warming drink and super-nice biscuits, thanks to Phil and Sharon.

Paul

 

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Volunteers’ Week 2019

Yeah, would you believe it, Volunteers’ Week happens every year and everyone is supposed to thank volunteers for their efforts this week.

Marcus, Aaron and myself got loads of thanks this week, as we do every week, so we were OK.

But it got me thinking about why I volunteer so much of my time to various different things, to the detriment of the things that I want to do for myself a lot of the time. I guess there is an over-riding factor to make things better, or give people the opportunity to maybe break-out of a situation that they might not be comfortable with, and possibly cannot see a way out themselves? I don’t really know. But I do know that our weekly workdays are there for everyone, no skills required, just turn up, have a bit of a laugh, do a bit of work and enjoy a bit of company over a coffee and a biscuit.

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And that is probably it, what I get out of volunteering is probably very different to what other people get out of it, but there is a bit of my story if anyone is interested.

Our mini-meadow looked a bit more “meadowish” this week.

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And plenty of wildflowers when we started to look.

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Yellow Rattle

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Common Vetch

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Germander Speedwell

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Herb Bennet

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Red Campion

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Common Dog Violet

There are loads of mini-beasts, too.

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Bloody-nosed Beetle

I spotted a bug-hotel that we put up years ago.

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We could do with a lot more of these as we move into the summer.

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One of our bird-feeder poles, from the observation bench on the opposite bank.

So there it is, volunteering is good for the soul, creating things that help others is also good for the soul. Come along and give it a go. There is always plenty to do and there is always plenty of coffee and cookies to share.

Paul

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Litter-pick and Wildflowers

We did a good old litter-pick today on the Berrybanks to Potsford’s Dam section. Victoria, Tom, Mick, Reece and Paul made it to the bird-feeder clearing and we fanned-out from here, after a coffee and catch-up.

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We have loads of wildflowers and grass growing, but it is not quite the classic and colourful wavy meadow that I had in my mind’s eye.

I guess we just need to go with it across the summer and try and weed out what we don’t want in the autumn.

Great to have Mick and Steven guiding, educating and correcting us on wildflower ID. It is the only way that we are going to learn, so please keep doing what you are doing, guys 😀

Wildflowers spotted:

(The camera on my new phone proved to be pretty useless at close-up shots – I won’t be using it again!!)

ladys smock

Lady’s Smock/Cuckoo Flower

hogweed

Hogweed

black medic

Black Medick

common vetch

Common Vetch

cow parsley

Cow Parsley

garlic mustard

Garlic Mustard/Jack in the Hedge

Well, that is about it for May. Roll on June and the summer months.

Paul

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Weekender

Great turn-out for our weekend workday. Tom, Victoria, Tim, Marcus, Aaron and Paul made it to the steps down to the reservoir and we cracked on with replacing the steps that had come loose – which was most of them, to be honest!!

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Plenty of thought going into making the steps a bit more permanent.

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And a million times better than having to slide down the slope on your backside, like what everyone has had to do for the last decade or so.

Tom and Victoria kept the top of the path litter-free and snipped back any bramble runners trying to fill the void.

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There are plenty of wildflowers growing where the scrub and heavy canopy has been pushed back. This is great for wildlife and biodiversity, and the open nature of the path means it is not intimidating and cramped for users.

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It’s a known fact that if people cannot see ahead of themselves for a hundred yards or so, they do start to feel apprehensive and worried, so there are many reasons for keeping the path nice and wide, not forgetting the really encouraging sight of the spread of the buttercup meadow, up onto the cleared areas.

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It shows what happens when we help to manage the balance with scrub and wildflowers.

Flora and Fauna Spotted:

(If you see any ID errors please shout out)

germander speedwell

germander speedwell

field scabious

Great Burnet

herb bennet

herb bennet

bugle

ground ivy

dandelion

dandelion and Fat Thighed Flower Beetle

buttercup

buttercup

dove's-foot cranesbill

dove’s-foot crane’s-bill

Plenty of things for people to get excited about on the greenway – walking, cycling, running, photography, wildlife, wildflower ID and recording, picnics, countryside, bug-life, community, working together, coffee and biscuits, exercise and outdoor-life, bats, birds and butterflies.

Come on down and get involved with this community project!

Paul

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It was worth waiting for…

What was worth waiting for? The banana loaf cake that Marcus had promised last week, but we got rained off, so Reece, Marcus, Aaron and myself had to wait until this week.

bananasIt was delicious, it was so yummy I forgot to take a photo of us eating it – nom, nom, nom…

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Possession is nine-tenths of the law, nothing to see here, M’lord…

We just pulled up a load more nettles and newly shooting brambles on our wildflower patches. Stuff is starting to sprout so it won’t be long until we start to see a bit of colour.

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Our hedge is starting to green up in places. We can work on this in the autumn, but it is getting there slowly but surely.

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This is the wildflower clearing at bench #4, with the view across the heath.

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And this is the reed-bed on the other side of the bank that needs a lot of TLC in the autumn.

Flora and Fauna spotted:

red campion

red campion

doves foot cranesbill

dove’s-foot cranesbill

As always, if you spot a wildflower ID error please shout out, if you have a spare bit of cash, consider us poor waifs and strays and our empty begging bowls (just click the link above), and of course, if you want to come on down and join us, you are more than welcome. Plenty of biscuits, cake, coffee and laughs…

Paul

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Visit from The Hulk

hulk

Marvel must have sent Hulk because everything has turned green!

He left the nettle-pulling for the rest of us superheroes, in the form of Howard, Marcus, Wayne and myself…

Thanks – Hulk!

We set up camp at bench #2, the area where we put down a load of lady’s bedstraw seeds. We need to take care not to pull this out, thinking it is sticky-weed. They are both of the same cleavers family so may well look similar before flowering.

DSC_2391Pulling up the nettles and any bramble shoots. This will give everything else a chance to germinate and grow. Nothing will grow under dense canopy or ground-cover.

DSC_2392The newly seeded areas are starting to really green up. Hopefully, in a few weeks, we will have an idea of what is actually growing.DSC_2401Here’s one we seeded earlier. It’s looking very green!

Something else going green are the whips that we dug up from clearing #2 and planted into our hedge at clearing #3.

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It’s a nice feeling to be using the natural resources around us to create something new.

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After our coffee and cookie break…

adsa cookies

…very tasty and definitely recommended, we had a go at wildflower identification.

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ground ivy

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white dead-nettle

Butterflies spotted were brimstone, orange-tip, peacock and speckled wood.

iRecord has been updated (please let me know how you get on with iRecord as a recording tool).

Also, please shout out any wrongly identified flowers.

Next week we are at bench #3 with a promise of banana cake…

Paul

 

 

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Wakey wakey!!

Finally, the greenway seems to be waking up!

A lot of our old favourites are starting to show and the newly planted mini-meadows are full of new shoots.

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The new kit-bag has a special place for biscuits, and is starting to fill up with other stuff like our first-aid kit and other gubbins.

The task at the moment is a little bit rubbish, in that we ware trying to weed out nettles and bramble from our newly seeded mini-wildflower areas, but Marcus, Aaron and myself persevered with it on Wednesday morning.

It will be worth it when all the new shoots start to come on.

Flora and fauna:

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Bluebell

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forget-me-not

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lesser celandine

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bugle

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bloody-nosed beetle

All finds entered on iRecord.

Back to pulling up nettles and bramble next week!!

Paul

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