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Birch Bash near Grantown-on-Spey Saturday 24th September 2022

This was habitat management work for Dark Bordered Beauty moth (DBB) at one of just three Scottish locations for this species. Indeed, there may now be only two locations because DBB has not been seen on this site for the last three seasons. We want to keep the habitat in good shape though, with a view to potentially re-introducing the species to this site within the next few years. Also, it is just possible that DBB is still on the site but undetected.

Before - lots of Birch

Before - Lots of Birch

DBB caterpillars feed on aspen suckers and several small areas of the site have been fenced off to stop sheep from grazing the suckers. This has enabled aspen suckers to flourish but unfortunately birch regeneration has also flourished. The birch can be faster growing and denser than the aspen, thereby the former shades out the latter. Our task today was to uproot the birches using tree poppers and let light in on the aspens.

 The team hard at work

The Team hard at work

Eight of us gathered for today’s work party and we started off in an area where the birches were getting quite large and certainly dominating the aspens. These birches had particularly well-developed root systems and so were something of a challenge for the tree poppers and those operating them!

 

After - piled up Birch

 After - Piled up Birch

 

By lunchtime, we had made progress, but the team were physically flagging, and morale was lowering, so after lunch we moved to a different fenced area where the birches weren’t so large. That was much better. Good progress was made and morale rose. By 4pm we had cleared all of the birches from that exclosure. Well done team!

                               Pete Moore

 

After - no Birch

 

After - no Birch

 

 

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