We were back to Brakey Bank on Wednesday to try and tackle as many of the remaining ride widening areas as possible before habitat management gives way to the breeding season.

The walk down to our work area at the valley bottom, filled us with a real sense of achievement as we passed rides tackled on previous Work Parties with their increased space and light.

We set up 'camp' with the luxury of a bench for our refreshment brake later on - no balancing cups on logs this week!

The first task of the day was to connect the main ride to The Meadow.The existing narrow footpath is a reliable source of Comma, Peacock and Meadow Brown butterflies during the monitoring season, so it will be interesting to see what effect widening this area will have.

Simultaneously, Colin tackled the last remaining patch of scrub and coppice on the bend of the main ride, to give un-interrupted passage up and down for butterflies at what is another hot spot for them, along with dragonflies.

Ace fire lighter Gareth sets to work on the first of two fires of the day.

Dave looks forward to warming his hands......

 Michael making progress with The Meadow emerging in the background whilst Nigel and Jane pile their brash awaiting the official 'draggers' to feed the fire......

We were delighted to welcome two visitors to The Reserve and whilst they had not yet spotted their desired Redpolls and Siskins, they were treated to a display of three Corvids passing by one of which we identified as a Raven. A Common Buzzard was also seen displaying well earlier.

Nigel is amazed by the new view to The Meadow whilst Jane continues work around the corner to commence work on our third area of the day.

After a sociable lunch we divided into two groups, Colin, Jane, Michael, Nigel and Peter (behind the camera) tackled the final area of ride widening for the day, whilst Dave, Gareth and I stayed behind to clear up after their earlier work, hence fire number two.

Once again we were luckier with the weather than forecast until an ominous cloud grew darker and darker and eventually unleashed a prolonged hail storm. Fortunately this coincided with work being completed, so we packed up and trudged back up the hill homewards. It was surprising just how much 'slush' had accumulated on the lanes on the drive home - April showers come early.

It was great to complete so many interconnected ride areas in one day thanks to the hard work of Colin, Dave, Gareth, Jane, Nigel, Michael and Peter. Thanks again to Peter for providing all the images of the day.

As an aside, I undertook my Butterfly Transect on Sunday, it was warm but overcast at times but still yielded a total of 14 sightings across two early spring species - Comma and Peacock. This is most encouraging and hopefully our recent projects will pay dividends.

Hope to see you next time!

Anonymous