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Sustead Spring Clean

A chilly but dry morning – amazing after three days of freezing wind and rain – saw 11 of us gather at the Sustead sites for a spring clean. While John S, our new chief bird ringer, surveyed Spurrell’s Wood, locating and mapping as many nest boxes as he could, six volunteers scythed parts of the Surveyor’s Allotment, including the doughnut, and dug up more brambles in the area adjacent to the beck. Vision was in charge of path tidying, cutting back branches and brambles that impeded passage, while Val scrubbed the composting toilet and Peter re-painted the posts protecting the orchids on the Roadside Nature Verge.

Later, after our usual break, David H took a sample from Gur Beck as it runs through Spurrell’s Wood and gave us all a really interesting talk about what he had found in the sample and its significance. He said that this stretch of the beck is unusual as it runs through this protected wooded habitat, and he was pleased by the abundance and variety of life he found in the sample, an indicator that it is a pretty healthy stretch of water. Everyone was fascinated by the assortment of wriggly things that he had found, including Green Drake and Olive Mayfly larvae, a Caddisfly larva, a Hoglouse, a flatworm and an assortment of freshwater shrimps.

More scything and raking followed, this time in Spurrell’s Wood, and some of the orchids that have survived Muntjac nibbling were given chicken-wire protection.

A good morning: we got a lot done and, as usual, there was much craic. Our next work party is on Thursday May 2nd, at a new site – a surveyor’s allotment in Aylmerton, but we will be meeting at WBOA first, so that we can take as few cars as possible.

Peter Maingay

April 19th 2024


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