22nd January, 2017
The first Grizzled Skipper work party of 2017 saw a net turn out of 25, with six consoc members present. Simon and the minibus left Brackenhurst at 0900 sharp and made a city pickup before heading down Rushcliffe way to East Leake by 1000 to work on a stretch of railway embankment. It was a windless day with a light dusting of frost, so we carried the kit down the rail line to the site and got going as soon as possible to keep warm.
We had two fires lit for burning brash and the work party was split into small groups to clear either clear light brash on the south facing bank, or cut away scallops of Hawthorn shrub on the north facing bank. After a lunch break around the fire we all joined in an effort to rake away and burn as much of the brash and grass as possible to remove the nutrients from the area. The species specific work was for the Grizzled Skipper butterfly, a Notts BAG species, who’s larval foodplants include Creeping Cinquefoil and Bird’s Foot Trefoil among others. These plants are colonisers of bare ground in low nutirent areas, so we were clearing away organic matter to encourage their growth on the gravelly embankments. It was a hard day’s work but we covered a lot of ground and hopefully the summer surveys will show a population spread as a result.