Saturday was rather overcast but it stayed dry for our work party at Ballachurry. No less than 16 volunteers arrived at 10 o'clock armed with secateurs, loppers and shears for our annual attack on the brambles which would completely take over the reserve if we left them to their own devices. While one team went down along the boundary ditch another liberated struggling Hazel bushes and a third team was along the edge of the damp meadow. We also managed to put up the new "No dogs" notice and lay the willows next to the hide to turn them into a hedge. So busy were we that I almost forgot to take some photos and remembered just in time before we took our well earned tea break.
There was a special cake with a candle today among the usual selection but the recipient prefers to remain anonymous! 15 people singing Happy Birthday amounts to a choir, I reckon, even if we didn't exactly sound like one! After the break we started all over again to get the job done. We have decided to make this the last work party of the year as the first two Saturdays of December are taken up with other Wildlife Trust events and after that volunteers are busy with Christmas and New Year celebrations. So January 2021 will be our next reunion.
|loppers at the ready|
|getting down to work|
| some very busy ladies|
|a bin full of brambles already|
| freeing up the Hazels|
| meanwhile at the other side of the reserve....|
|they were down in the ditch|
|hacking their way through 12 months' growth|
|all very busy|
| Happy in her work!|
| along the gorse boundary the brambles are taking over|
| a new technique!|
|don't worry, the barrow is on its way|
| final tug before tea|
| some very special cake today|
|a welcome sit down|
|and lots to chat about|
|a happy bunch|
| and another|
By almost cutting through the willow trunks - but not quite- the sapling can be laid down to the ground. New growth should come up vertically in the spring and if the process is repeated each year we'll soon have a hedge.
|smart new sign |
For those of you who live elsewhere I should perhaps explain that although sadly the Island suffered 24 deaths from Covid-19 earlier in the year the virus was successfully eradicated for all of 107 days and social distancing and the wearing masks etc. became no longer necessary. Hence our rather friendly looking work parties. Unfortunately more recently there have been a few cases as a result of people having to travel off-island for various authorised reasons. Our stringent rules about self-isolation on return have to date kept it out of the community and the Isle of Man remains officially Covid-free at present. Our borders remain closed to try to maintain this status and relatives from off the Island are unable to join us for Christmas this year. Like all people around the globe our hopes are pinned on an effective vaccine to make 2021 a much happier year for us all.
To end on a more cheerful note: wildlife seen during work party: Robin and Kestrel SC209694
Please click on the photos to enlarge them