Monday, September 2, 2019

Boundary House Fen, 31st August 2019

Fourteen Green Gymmers met in Frilford Golf Club car park for our reed raking session at Boundary House Fen under the direction of Judy Webb.

We pooled cars and drove to the usual gate, but here we encountered our first obstacle – the gate hadn’t been unlocked, so we had no choice but to leave our cars on the verge and carry all our tools and equipment.

We reached the fen, with occasional stops to stand in reverent silence while somebody teed off. Rod d’Ayala had been busy cutting the reeds and our task was to rake them up and either transport them to heaps on the edge of the fen or pile them into the stream to raise the water level and allow the water to seep on to the fen. Another task was to cut back some trees which had started to sprout from the stumps. Rod and Judy showed us an area of reed which was left uncut as marsh lousewort was growing there. This plant parasitises reeds and thus is useful for reducing reed cover and enabling other fen plants to thrive.

After our tea break there was another task. A patch of Himalayan Balsam had been discovered in the scrub on the edge of the fen. A small group of us went to pull it up, making sure we covered the seed heads with plastic bags as the pods were ripe and would burst and scatter their seeds at the slightest touch. Among the vegetation we found an elephant hawkmoth caterpillar (the “eyes” are simply markings to scare predators), a shieldbug and a hornet hoverfly. You can see photos of all of these. We also found several golf balls. Golfers generally don’t bother to look for lost balls but Judy knows someone who sells them in aid of a charity.

Then it was time to pack up and make our way back to the gate, feeling satisfied with our morning’s work.
-Eleanor



First seven photos by Judy, last three by Michele:












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