As part of our on-going involvement with Butterfly Conservation All the Moors Butterfly Project a work day was held on Roborough Common

The previous weeks weather had been rather unsettled with a number of wet days, but with a favourable forecast, 9 members of the conservation team met with Megan Lowe of Butterfly Conservation to improve the feeding habitat for Pearl Bordered Fritillary Butterflies

Two sites were tackled, the first the rather steep south facing area which drops to the River Tavy.

Previous work days had created paths through the bracken and these were still visible in the new growth which in places was over 2 metres high.

 

First Site

First Site

 

Additional paths were cut through the bracken  using brush cutters and slashers.

The work was slow and very hot, in particular for those  wearing PPE, regular breaks were in order, which included cake from Megan.

After lunch the 2nd site was tacked, this being flatter so was less difficult, but by then the temperature was in the high 20’s C.

 

Site 2 with West Down in the background

Site 2 with West Down in the background

 

 

Brush cutting under the midday sun!

Brush cutting under the midday sun!

 

Dog Violets - food for hungry caterpillars

Dog Violets – food for hungry caterpillars

 

 

A well earned rest under the shade of the DPA transport or APY as it is more commonly known

A well earned rest under the shade of the DPA transport or APY as it is more commonly known

 

At around 3.00pm we had by now complete the required tasks, and we were all wilting under the heat, Megan took us on a butterfly hunt heading towards Berra Tor, the furthest West and one of the lowest Tors on Dartmoor.

We had seen a couple (or maybe the same) Pearl Bordered Fritillary in the distance on both sites, but were too far to get a detailed look, unfortunately although there were numerous butterflies, and moths flying,  they were not the elusive PBF – possibly a bit early in the season, so Megan was not able to show us her Butterfly Net catching skills – it was also rather hot for running around.

 

Berra Tor

Berra Tor

 

A good day was had by all, a change to see some sun (should not complain too much about the heat) thanks for those attending Peter B, Hilary L, Elaine and John V, John W, Claude W, Adam S, and Amanda L, who was on a days Employee Volunteering from Yorkshire Building Society.

A further conservation day in the Berra Tor area is planned for the Autumn.

Further information on All the Moors Butterfly project can be found on – http://butterfly-conservation.org/9914/All-theMoorButterflies.html

Stephen Barrow