Saturday, March 15, 2014

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 15th March 2014

For the second time in a week, we had a session at Frilford Heath Golf Club.  This time we assembled in the main golf club car park before moving on to the Greensmans' area at the alternate entrance off the Abingdon Road, toward Tubney.

Twelve Green Gymmers, along with site supervisors, Judy and Alison, were in attendance on what was a rather warm and pleasant morning.  Blue skies, birdsong and a very potent spring ambience were very much the order of the day as we ran the gauntlet down across the golf course, dodging golfers and their flying balls, en-route to Boundary Fen.

As with Tuesday's session, the main task was raking up the cut vegetation that had been left over from the activities of the golf club staff at an earlier time, and to remove any rogue tree debris and/or fallen trees that we might find.  

On the way to setting up our encampment on the fen itself, we had to cross the narrow, yet fairly deep stream that runs beside the site.  Alison and Judy were the first to hop across, but subsequent volunteers ran into a bit of trouble negotiating the obstacle!  Finally having all made it in one piece, the tasks were outlined and we set about beginning our operations.

The cuttings were raked and made into small piles and then transported across to the top edge of the site.  In order to achieve this quickly and efficiently, a couple of large builders' 'drag bags' had been procured.  A large quantity of vegetation could thus be loaded and transported into these receptacles without the need for heavy lifting.

While the raking was in progress, Judy had a good scout for noteworthy flora and fauna, with some interesting species discovered.  Most obviously, there were many frogs and a good deal of frogspawn in the ponds around the perimeter.  Also, an ants' nest was found, although the exact species of ant was unclear without further analysis.  Furthermore a fairly significant blushing bracket fungus was identified.  All good signs of biodiversity within what is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

We covered the majority of the site during the session, with only some of the area towards the Abingdon Road end and a patch across on the other side of the stream left outstanding.  There were also some sections of fallen trees that will require finishing off.  Otherwise, a job well done!

The return trip across the golf course was not without delay as we had to wait a while for some golfers to tee off.  We took care not to move the golf balls from their tee-shot positions as we crossed the fairway.  Apologies if any deviations from this intention occurred - to any golfers who might be reading!  Not everything always goes according to plan...

Judy provides some instruction

Ant colony

One of the 'drag bags'

The top of the 'Blushing Bracket' fungus

...and the underside

All steam ahead...

Taking a quick break

Alison and Kevin remove a section of felled tree

Dieuwke and Eleanor fill the bag

Discussions beside the wood pile

Tanya and Sally, busy raking

Boundary House Fen in the March sunshine

A pair of frogs in the pond


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