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Volunteer thank-you party at West Beckham Old Allotments

This year, rather than having a BBQ in the middle of a full haymaking day, we decided to have an evening get-together at West Beckham Old Allotments. 28 people turned up at 17.00 on Thursday September 1st – a brilliant turn-out that included very welcome non-volunteers, who came along with family members who are volunteers.

The evening began with a short talk by Trevor, giving a brief contextual background to the work the Trust does and, in particular, to the development of WBOA. We then followed Trevor around the site, stopping at a number of points where he explained what exactly had been done to each section of the four-acre site and why. Even seasoned old-hands learned a bit more as to why exactly they had been doing what they had been doing for the past two years!

In the meantime, John R and Peter F had been driving the BBQ, with both veggie and meat offerings, and laying out the liquid refreshments! We all sat around chatting to old friends and new members of the volunteering body – a wonderful opportunity to get to know people better and, particularly after Trevor’s thank-yous and his brilliant announcement about the new sites we are taking on, to really feel members of an amazing and very coherent team.

As dusk fell, we got down to the real business of the evening – trying out our bat detectors and gathering round the moth trap, both kindly funded by Norfolk Community Foundation. Nick S took a group around the site and the adjacent green lane with bat detectors in hand, and soon there was the sound of clicking as the detectors picked up the echo-location calls of the bats that were flitting about above the hedges. They were mostly Common or Soprano Pipistrelles, but the much rarer Barbastelle bat was also picked up.

Meanwhile, Jane was introducing another group to the moth trap and a few early fliers were spotted, attracted to the light. Jane returned early next morning to find 138 moths of 26 species in the trap, of which 12 were new for the site!

Thank you to all who came and a big thank you to Trevor for his talks; to Peter and John for their cooking; to Jane for telling us about the moth trap; and to Val and Nick for leading us on a bat detection expedition.

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