Today we were down at Swanwick Lakes. The Beechcroft team joined forces with the Swanwick team on a variety of tasks in the eastern part of the reserve.
Wanting to make the most of the borrowed quad bike we started the day by finishing off a job we started last week; consolidating all odd piles of timber from around the reserve. These piles of timber were all cut from tree thinnings from over the past winter. In the dryer summer months we can extract without causing damage to the reserve. When all the logs are piled together its easy to see all the hard work that’s gone on over the winter.
Then we were on to a summer favourite – Ragwort pulling. A necessary job to clear an area which will be grazed later in August.
With the day warming up nicely and 10mins to kill before lunch we decided to take a wonder to see if we could catch a glimpse of the illusive purple emperor. Not feeling very confident if Im honest, we took a stroll around the Willows in north east meadow. After 5mins Steve gave a shout that he had seen one! I ran over with anticipation to have a stunning male Purple emperor fly over my head, skirting around a large willow tree canopy. Perhaps I was wrong to be sceptical about seeing an emperor in this area, after all I did see one in this very spot last year, but that was a female feeding on a sap run of an Oak tree. On that high we stopped for lunch but the butterfly spotting didnt end there. A White admiral gave us a fly by before darting off into the depths of the woodland.
After lunch we joined the swanwick volunteer team in cutting and raking the meadow. We made great progress in creating different height grasses, varying the structure of the meadow which is great for biodiversity.
Lets just hope my next encounter with the Purple emperor is more friendly and he allows me to take some photos!!