Glenfeshie West Work Party October 16th 2021
We had a great turn-out for this work party, fourteen folks in all, which was just as well because we had a lot to do. The work site was an old quarry within Inshriach Forest, Glenfeshie, with lovely views of the surrounding hills and we continued work that we had started here last winter.
Dingy Skipper has been recorded on this site, where its larval foodplant, bird’s-foot trefoil, grows on the sandy, gravelly terrain. Unfortunately, rampant conifer tree regeneration was threatening to take over and shade out the bird’s-foot trefoil, so the first task was to remove all the invading small trees. Luckily, most were easily pulled out of the sandy soil by hand, although we did have to use tree-poppers on the bigger trees and the odd well-established broom bush. We neatly finished this stage of the operations by lunchtime. The weather was perfect for working – calm, dry and not cold. We even had a few minutes of warm sunshine during lunch. We had earlier speculated whether we would see any butterflies today and, sure enough, a single red admiral flew in at lunchtime and briefly landed on our water container!
In the afternoon, we embarked on the next stage ….. planting and sowing. Although bird’s-foot trefoil was already growing on the site, the plants were small, straggly and low in density, so we beefed up the existing population with plug-plants. We also planted out plenty of kidney vetch which is the caterpillar food-plant of Small Blue butterfly. Although Small Blue has not been recorded on the site, it is known to be on the river shingles of the nearby River Feshie in small numbers and with a bit of luck it will colonise our work site. We also planted out smaller numbers of violets. In all, we planted out almost 400 plug plants! In addition, Rosemary had brought along seed of nectar plants such as devil’s-bit scabious and hawkbit, so these were sown across the site.
By the end of the afternoon, thanks to the efforts of all those involved, we had cleared the site of invasive tree regeneration, planted hundreds of caterpillar food-plants and sown the seed of nectar-producing flowers. It was a great team effort. Not only did we achieve our habitat improvement goals but it had been an enjoyable social get-together, the surrounding landscape was inspiring, the weather played ball and we even saw a late season butterfly!
Particular thanks go to Tom for the bird’s-foot trefoil, Fritillary Hilary for the violets, Rosemary for the flower seed and a big thank-you to Matthew Desmond for all the kidney vetch. Lastly, thanks to Forest and Land Scotland for allowing us to carry out this work on their land.
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