looking westThis was our first visit of the year to the area of Baildon Moor where we have been controlling bracken for a decade. The impact we have had in enabling the moorland vegetation to thrive, rather than be swamped by the bracken is significant and noticeable. When we clear a patch the first plants to arrive are the heath bedstraw and sheep's sorrel, closely followed by the wavy hair grass. Heather and bilberry are now encroaching into the grassy areas giving a perfect example the plant succession on moorland. There are few small rowan and birch trees which will give perching points for birds, as well as food and shelter.
It feels wrong to complain it was too hot -we have had many a drenching on the exposed moor - however it was very warm! Good for the butterflies - the small heath were most numerous but there were also plenty of meadow brown, ringlet and large white. The crossleaved heath was in flower and going over and the ling (common heather) is just about to open. There were many bees visiting the heather and the bilberry.
We had a walk on the moor on Wednesday evening and there were quite a few birds in the longer bracken and a pair of hunting kestrels. On both days we disturbed a pair of partridges. Because of our observations we concentrated our cutting efforts today in some of the areas we have cut previously. We used scythes, sickles and slashers to cut the bracken and raked into to piles to make compost. Today we worked with 17 volunteers.