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Brownsea gets a celebrity!

September 24, 2010

A blog mainly written by noobie Ciaran. but supremely edited/published by the face of DWT (Josh). and then corrected by Becky.

So Monday morning after tidying up the equipment left after the walk for wildlife (see previous blog) we headed off to Brownsea Island. As Sam was busy not being there it was just me, Noel, Angie, Josh and Earl. On our way to the villa we passed another group of volunteers already working on the reeds where we were intending to go. Sadly by the time we had reached the villa dumped our stuff, got boots on, found somewhere to put Earl and got back to the reeds they had already finished. After quickly getting over the disappointment from not getting covered in mud we headed back to the villa grabbed our bags and went up the hill to bash some rhododendron. It was a hot day so lunch was a very welcome break from the destruction but we were soon back at work and before long had cleared a considerable amount of the plant. As you may already know rhododendron is an invasive plant, introduced to Brownsea some years ago. It then spread from the one hedge to cover most of the island, blocking light for native plants as well as acidifying the soil around it. Over the past few years the rhododendron has been cleared in huge amounts and it is aimed to have none left by next year. We were interrupted however by a call from the villa, apparently Earl had been scaring the people staying there so we had to head back and save them from the doggy menace. This seriously messed up the schedule for the day and we decided it was too late to go back to the rhodi and too early for the boat home. And so whilst Noel calmed Earl down, we went to one of the hides looking for birds, on the way though we found something much tastier and easy to eat.

Delicious Blackberries

As we left the villa for the boat, Earl somehow managed to escape (no one can be held responsible apparently), and as you may well know around the villa are plenty of chickens. Luckily Earl was caught before he managed to injure anything and we left the island without further incident.

Stallion

Wednesday, me, Josh and Noel returned to Brownsea, no Earl this time after learning from mistakes made on Monday. Traffic and people who had all the time in the world slowed us down forcing us to run to catch the boat. Franky, however had got lost on the way and did miss the boat, so after reaching the island Noel had to organise a way to the island for her whilst Josh and I went to find some work. In the meadow we found people already at work cutting and piling up the plants, so we chose our weapons (pitchforks) and got to work.

Ciaran imagines himself with short hair.

Noel and Franky soon arrived and joined in. It wasn’t long before the whole meadow was cut and with more than 12 people working, piling all the grass up didn’t take much longer. The reason for our task was to prevent the grasses getting too woody and so allowing the orchids to grow next summer.

a view from the past

The same job would have been done hundreds of years ago but with the grass used to feed livestock and make roofs. Our job could have been disastrous for some wildlife though because many animals had been in the grass that we cut. Luckily we managed to see and relocate several frogs and toads before the mower could get to them. As it was another hot day we all took regular breaks and a good lunch, though some people relaxed in a more unnatural way than others.

i dont know either

After lunch we resumed work, loading the grass onto the tractor which took a very long time dropping it off elsewhere. So that by the end of the day, we had cleared about 2 thirds of the grass and the rest was in piles waiting for the next day.

Josh hangs out with normal people

Overall a productive few days, with progress made in several areas on Brownsea Island, and lessons learned by all. I now know more about the wildlife and how to do certain tasks and Noel knows that taking Earl to Brownsea in the summer months might not always work.

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