A slate grey sky, sharp persistent westerly wind with the threat of a deluge usually discourages outdoor effort but not for our optimistic and committed members. And as for rain, it stayed dry throughout our workday.
We targetted an area of scrub that we knew contained some fine specimens of Alder Buckthorn. If we could clear the surrounding scrub we would make the Alder Buckthorn available for breeding by Brimstone and Holly Blue butterflies as well as the range of bees that are obsessed by the unexpectedly rich nectar the plant’s tiny flowers provide.
A great effort was made. Five hours later we had a great clearing made. We kept sufficient scrub to give shelter to the buckthorns while allowing light to reach the area. An old pond, which I last saw around 20 years ago, was still there. Perhaps the frogs will return to breed there in the next few weeks.
Another butterfly that we hope will benefit from our work is the Dark Green Fritillary, which is very rare in Kildare, Meath and many other counties, especially counties lacking a coast. The violets in the clearings which grow in patches among dry grass leaf litter offer promising breeding opportunities to this dynamic, beautiful butterfly. We’ll see if this happens in June/July!
Thanks to all who braved the elements. There is strong camaraderie on our workdays with conversation and lunch making the work so much sweeter!