Help needed at Lankham on 15 Feb

Lots of small black furry caterpillars among dry grass
Marsh Fritillary caterpillars at Lankham on 7 February 2017. Photo: Nigel Spring

Tuesday February 7th, Lankham Bottom Butterfly Reserve:  a beautiful almost spring-like day and possibly the earliest recorded date for Marsh Fritillary larvae on this site sunning themselves in a cluster on the southwest facing slopes of the reserve.

14 members of Butterfly Conservation and the Somerset EuCAN Volunteers gathered to finish the work on the chalkpit, to cut and burn up more of the scrub regrowth in what were formerly heavily scrubbed over areas of the reserve and to begin to remove gorse and thorn scrub in the south-east corner of the reserve where it is encroaching on valuable Marsh Fritillary habitat.

Small pit in a grassy field with a pile of rubbish in front of it

Lankham chalkpit now with a new face and emptied of rubbish! Photo: Malcolm Halfacre.

An enormous pile of buried rubbish was pulled out of the chalkpit with the help of a digger provided by Wessex Water, the owners of the site, and taken away in one of their dumper trucks. The face of the chalkpit was scraped of vegetation and topsoil to expose bare chalk which we hope will be colonised by Birdsfoot Trefoil, Kidney Vetch and other legumes and will become an attractive habitat for some of the blue butterfly species.

Orange dumper truck being loaded with rubbish.

Lankham Bottom Wessex Water as site owners very kindly took away the heap of rubbish extracted from the chalkpit. Photo: Georgie Laing

The work on the SE corner will continue next Wednesday Feb 15th – please come and help! See the Events page.

Fresh-looking Marsh Fritillary with open wings

Marsh Fritillary. Photo: Brian Arnold 2016.



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