Conservation News (current)

Conservation work on Brook Meadow
Management of Brook Meadow is essential to maintain an appropriate habitat for wildlife and to enhance the biodiversity of the site. To achieve this, the conservation group works in co-operation with the local Council and other agencies to keep the meadow in good order both for wildlife and for public use. It holds regular conservation work sessions to manage grassland, scrub and woodland and, generally, to keep the meadow clean and tidy. The rivers are primarily managed by the Environment Agency to maintain a good flow of water, avoid flooding, and to create a good habitat for fish, Water Voles and other riparian wildlife.

Volunteer work sessions
Regular conservation work sessions on Brook Meadow take place from 10am to 12 noon on the 1st Sunday and the 3rd Thursday of each month throughout the year. Everyone is welcome and tools are provided. We meet at the new tool store HQ at the end of Seagull Lane. Safety for all volunteers is a priority and risk assessments by trained members are given at each session. There is a break when refreshments are served.
The main tasks include cutting and clearing of the grassland and scrub, removing broken tree branches and keeping pedestrian paths open and clear of obstacles. Clearing litter is a priority. Children and students from local schools and colleges are welcome to join in for work experience.
Special work session are also organised from time to time e.g. hedge-laying
For further details call Jennifer Rye – 01243 376926

Conservation Work session – Sunday 2 September 2018
Report by Mike Probert.  Photos by Brian Fellows
A good turnout of twelve volunteers gathered on a lovely warm, sunny morning to hear about the tasks planned and to decide which they would like to pursue.
The main task of the day was to mow, rake and clear several areas in the North Meadow and part of the Seagull Lane patch. Nigel got a head start on mowing a strip behind the Lumley cottages to facilitate a forthcoming Environment Agency exercise to erect a temporary flood barrier.

Having cleared this the team then moved on to the two ‘flower circles’. These circles had been mowed several times each year for the past two years and were now well populated with a number of wild flowers, including Red Bartsia, in marked contrast to the surrounding area of thick coarse grasses mowed only once every other year or so. Maurice gave Colin a ‘refresher’ course on the mower.

In the meantime, Bob, Joan and Lesley carried out a litter pick and cleaned the sign cases, returning just in time for Pam’s welcome mid-morning refreshments at Frank’s wasp-free seat.
After the break the team finished raking the flower circles and moved on to do the same to cut sections of the Seagull Lane patch which displayed a heavy growth of vegetation, including five foot nettles!

A good morning’s work on the Meadow for all those involved.

Video clips of this morning’s work

Wildlife observations during workday 2 Sep 2018
Volunteers called me over to look at two slugs and two spiders that had been transported onto the meadow inside one of the bags for collecting arisings.

The spiders were the large house spiders (Tegenaria gigantea) obviously disturbed from their normal habitat.  I am no good on slug identification, but I think these were either Dusky Slug (Arion subfuscus) or possibly Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) (peviously seen in Aug 2012)

The morning was notable for the scarcity of butterflies.  I saw a Speckled Wood and Maurice Lillie reported seeing Common Blue and Large White, but that was all.
I was interested to see acorns and Knopper galls (which distort acorns) on the Oak that I planted on the Seagull Lane patch in 2012.  The galls do not harm the tree, rather show it is in good health.

The smaller Oak planted at the same occasion by my wife at the far end of the patch is also growing well and looking healthy.

Conservation Work session – Thursday 16 August 2018
Report by Colin Brotherston. Photos by Brian Fellows
Nine volunteers turned out on a mild dreary morning. The weather was overcast with light rain and little wind. All attendees were experienced meadow volunteers so, after a very brief welcome and safety instructions, today’s tasks were described and allocated.
The tasks were:
1          Move wood from the south part of the flower rich area to a single dump under the willow trees adjacent to Beryl’s seat. This wood formed the low fence border to protect the flower rich area during early summer. It is now mostly rotten.

2            Remove low and overhanging branches from trees at the South Gate and the Lumley Gate.

3          Cut back the goat willow at the start of the “butterfly path” adjacent to Lumley Gate.

4            Remove overhanging brambles and nettles from paths.
5          Use power scythe to widen all paths, particularly in the North meadow along the river bank where part of the path is becoming eroded.
At 11.00 – 11.15 the group stopped for coffee and biscuits at HQ kindly provided by Pam in the usual efficient manner.

During the first half of the session the light rain had become steady and much heavier so it was decided to finish the work session and pack away the tools.
At 11.30 HQ was locked, all tools having been returned and wiped clean.

Wildlife observations from Brian
I spotted a small bug resting on a panicle of Timothy grass. It looks like a Tortoise Shieldbug (Eurygaster testudinaria) though I am not 100% certain.
The Rowan plantation on the east side of the north meadow is a glorious picture of red berries. I don’t recall ever having seen such a good showing of berries on the trees which were planted in 2005 in memory of Gwynne Johnson. Plenty of nourishing food for the local Blackbirds and leaving some hopefully for any Waxwings that might be in the area.
I had a couple of interesting items of news from the volunteers. Dan showed me a photo on his phone of a Painted Lady feeding on Buddleja that he had taken in his garden in Lumley Road yesterday. He said there were 6 feeding on the plant, which suggests we could be getting an invasion of these beautiful butterflies from the continent like we occasionally get at this time of the year.

Tony showed me a photo that he had taken while on holiday in Poland of a large copse of dead trees on an island in which were roosting thousands of Cormorants. I have seen Cormorants roosting on the islands at Chichester Gravel Pits but certainly not in these numbers.

The next work session is on Sunday 2nd September 2018

Emsworth Show
The Brook Meadow Conservation Group will be having their usual stand at the Emsworth Show on Bank Holiday Monday 27th August 2018 in Emsworth Recreation Ground Horndean Road. We shall have the usual photographic displays and various items for sale. Subscriptions can also be renewed for the coming year. We look forward to seeing you there.



All earlier reports for 2018 are on the archives pages.
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