3. Summer 2015

Pirri-pirri-bur is a no-no!

Pirri-pirri-bur is a native plant in New Zealand and Australia, but is rather out of place in Norfolk, especially on Site of Special Scientific Interest, Kelling Heath.

This invasive member of the rose family is (luckily) only found in only a few places in Norfolk – and as one is Kelling Heath car park, the Workout Group felt we should spend an afternoon removing it! The plant has fruit with barbed spines when mature, which means it attaches easily to fur or clothing, and so is spread from site to site by accident by animals and people. It is highly invasive, quickly overtaking more delicate plant species.

The Workout volunteers, overseen by County Ecologist Ed Stocker, spent an enjoyable afternoon digging or hand pulling as much of the plant (and its creeping roots) as possible, hopefully knocking Pirr-pirri-bur back for the coming growing season. A really satisfying and different task for us – and afterwards the pirri-pirri-bur debris was carefully removed from the site and disposed of safely.

Making Hay, the Hoveton way…

One of our August highlights was a sunny afternoon spent helping out with hay raking in Hoveton. We were invited to lend a hand by the locals of St Peter’s Church in Hoveton and Norfolk Wildlife Trust, who oversee the churchyard as part of their Churchyard Conservation Scheme (see www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk for more details on this brilliant project, aiming to help with wildlife-friendly management of churchyards).

The Workout volunteers (seen here alongside Emily Nobbs, NWT Assistant Conservation Officer), raked the freshly cut grass off, improving the churchyard for wildlife. By raking and removing the grass we were particularly helping the churchyard’s wild flowers, as most native species prefer a nutrient poor environment. Regular management (like this afternoon’s ‘raking party’) is vital, as otherwise nutrient enrichment can take place, leaving a site with less all round wildlife diversity.

Thanks to Emily and Bob for helping us get involved with work at St Peter’s, and to Mark from NWT for doing the cutting before we arrived!

Beeston’s blooms and butterflies

This summer we enjoyed a lovely stroll around the Site of Special Scientific Interest that is Beeston Common. During the afternoon we saw lots of beautiful butterflies – mainly gatekeepers, also called the Hedge Brown, which is particularly fitting as its favourite habitat is hedgerows and scrubby woodland. We also enjoyed seeing red admirals, large and small whites, meadow browns and skippers, and the odd speckled wood!
(Local expert Mark was also out butterfly spotting, keeping an eye on a stand of golden rod, where white letter hairstreak butterflies had been sunning themselves and feeding)

Having looked at the Beeston Common website, we were keen to see which of the ‘What to look for in August’ list we could find -so, having seen butterflies, we headed to the pond and were rewarded with two friendly common darter dragonflies, and (we think) a southern hawker.

We then went plant hunting, and were rewarded with a pretty impressive list: Rosebay Willowherb, the brilliantly named Enchanter’s Nightshade (pictured below, left), Marsh Lousewort, Grass of Parnassus (still in bud), Eyebright, Hemp Agrimony, Marsh (or Fen!) Bedstraw, Red Bartsia, Toadflax (pictured below), Lesser Stitchwort, Meadowsweet, Ragged Robin (pictured below, right) Birdsfoot Trefoil, Meadow Buttercup, Wild Angelica, and Fleabane – to name but a few!

Another great Workout Group afternoon of wildlife!

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