CROW (Conserve Reading on Wednesdays)
Wednesday, 11th June 2014
Fobney Island Wetland Nature Reserve ~ Path clearance
It was not only the vegetation that was blocking the path on the south side of the river but also trees brought down by the winter's gales.
Elsewhere it was bramble and nettle that needed our attention.
While nettle may not be everyone's favourite plant, a brood of Peacock butterfly caterpillars are enjoying a feast.
Nettles are a food plants of both the peacock and .....
..... small tortoiseshell butterfly caterpillar.
By the end of the morning the path was clear but as we made our way back to have lunch on the Island we noticed some Himalayan balsam growing, as ever, amongst the nettles.
Cathy practises her war dance to obliterate whatever thoughts the balsam may have had about continuing to grow.
After lunch we went for a tour of inspection around the Island to see how well the trees planted by The Conservation Volunteers during the autumn were doing. Given most of the site had been under water for much of the winter, the trees were in good shape with remarkably few losses.
While wearing a short sleeved top may be more comfortable on a warm day, it's not always ideal when working in nettles and the like.
Common blue damselflies were much in evidence. That above is a male .....
..... while here are both male and female .....
..... and finally a pair mating.
Also to be seen were banded demoiselle, .....
..... both females.
A wide variety of bees and other insects were to be found around the site.
An assortment of other insects were also to be found around the Island.
Eighteen spotted ladybird. Correction: It's a Harlequin ladybird. Sorry!
A bush cricket.
Possibly a mint leaf beetle transforms this dock leaf into lace. Actually it's a Gastrophysa viridula or Green Dock beetle.
All the while the swans swim serenely on the lake.
Later we headed along the towpath of the Kennet Canal where we waded shoulder deep into nettles to remove more balsam.
Hannah seems very happy, she may not be so enthusiastic by the end of the summer.
Our thanks to all who joined us: Peter, Mike, Marcus, John, Hannah, Chris, Cathy, Bob, Barry and Alan.
Created: Sunday, 15th June 2014
Photographs: Hannah Graves, John Lerpiniere, Mike Kempton