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Insh Marshes midweek Birch-bash September 22nd 2021

Only three folks turned up first thing this morning but, using tree poppers, we managed to clear an area of regenerating birch that was threatening to shade out an extensive patch of rock-rose, the foodplant for Northern Brown Argus butterfly. This was the largest of several patches of rock-rose along the RSPB’s Invertromie trail and each patch appears to support a small colony of Northern Brown Argus.           

 Cleared area             Cleared area

We then moved on to another area, where young birch was this time shading out aspen suckers. Aspens rarely produce seed in Scotland but spread vegetatively by means of suckers that grow up from the root system of large trees. The leaves of these suckers are the sole food of Dark Bordered Beauty moth caterpillars which are found at only three sites in Scotland. The moth caterpillars do not feed on large aspens but only on suckers less than about one metre tall.

Hard at work       Hard at work

Luckily, we were joined by another five volunteers at lunchtime, swelling team numbers to eight so we were able to clear a decent sized area. But there’s still plenty more to do so it’s just as well a second work-party is planned for 20 October.

We found two specimens of Leccinum aurantiacum – a fungus associated with aspens.

Leccinum aurantiacum

By Pete Moore




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