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Broom Removal at Ballinlaggan Part 2 Saturday 25th February 2023

We had a good turn out again for a day’s scrub bashing to benefit butterflies along my UKBMS transect at RSPB’s Ballinlaggan reserve, near Dulnain Bridge.  Fifteen willing and keen volunteers came from as far afield as the Black Isle and Stratherrick, as well as locally within Strathspey.

Starting Work New staff member, Tracy, joins us

Left, starting work.   Right, new staff member, Tracy, joins us.

Our new BC staff member Tracy joined us again, proving her worth for the job by providing us with a chocolate and peanut traybake.  Oh, and she was pretty good at using the tree poppers, too! 

Hilary starts the bonfire whilst popping continues A well-earned lunch break around the bonfire

Left, Hilary starts the bonfire whilst popping continues.   Right, a well-earned lunch break around the bonfire.

 

Great progress was made in removing broom, which will take over if it’s left.  We burned all the broom on a bonfire, although guilt set in afterwards when we learned we were burning the larval spinnings of the micro moth Agonopterix assimilella.  You can’t win them all.   

The master shows the new girl some larval spinnings

The master shows the new girl some larval spinnings.

 

All holes left by the poppered broom had local wildflower seed scattered into them – Bird’s-foot trefoil, Common dog violet, Common rockrose and Devil’s-bit scabious.   Hopefully, some of this will germinate to provide extra caterpillar foodplants and nectar sources for adult butterflies.

 The larva of Agonopterix assimilella on broomPlenty more popping to do after lunch

Left, the larva of Agonopterix assimilella on broom.  Right, plenty more popping to do after lunch.

I’ve been dreaming about this broom removal for years, so a big thank you to everyone who helped.  I’m looking forward to walking my transect in summer and seeing the difference it makes.  Also, a big thank you to Fiona for her lovely fruit cake and Tom for bringing along a very unusual Ukranian wafer-type cake – even if it was stale and needed eating!

Peter tends the bonfire whilst Thijs keeps bringing more broom Tracy's technique for a tough one

Left. Peter tends the bonfire whilst Thijs keeps bringing more broom.  Right, Tracy's technique for a tough one.

 

There’s still plenty of broom to remove and there will be future work parties for anyone who missed out this time!

Watching the embers die down at the end of the day Still smiling at the end of the day!

Left, watching the embers die down at the end of the day.  Right, still smiling at the end of the day!

                               Hilary Swift

 

     
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