News from Roland Wicksteed for September 2017

  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters....

    14:51 21 September 2017
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe


    The low stone wall on the bridge to St. Catherine's...over Wynlass Beck...was regularly clipped by vehicles and required frequent repairs. 


    We had some 'sleepers' left over after constructing raised beds at St. Catherine's.


    These sleepers were cut to shape and used to replace the vulnerable stone work and after several months are still in place and undamaged.

    Mission accomplished!
  • St. Catherine's 'Moth Night'/Caterpillar Survey.

    15:30 14 September 2017
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    A 'Moth Night' was held at St. Catherine's in late July. Among other species the rare netted carpet Moth was seen.


    An excellent image of the moth seen on its food plant... Touch-Me-Not Balsam....courtesy of Guy Broome.


    The moth lays its eggs, during its life span, on the underside of the plants' leaves in July and August.   


    Above is an image of the caterpillar during the annual survey that takes place in late August or early September. This caterpillar is probably fully grown and ready to pupate soon.



    In this instance the caterpillar is forming a triangle between the plant stem and leaf. The caterpillars invariably face 'down hill'... particularly when at rest.


    An image of a smaller caterpillar. The caterpillars out-grow and shed their skin 5 times...called instars...before they reach full size.


    The above image shows a caterpillar feeding on a Touch-Me-Not seed pod...the most nutritious part of its food plant.



    Note how well camouflaged the caterpillars are, making it difficult for predators and surveyors alike to spot them!

    Up to 50 caterpillars per 100 plants were recorded in some areas whereas in less densely populated areas only 1 or 2 were found per 100 plants.

    For more information on the moth and its food plant, including the conservation work involved,  please click on the link below.

News from Roland Wicksteed

Photo of Roland Wicksteed

Ranger. It is a privilege to live and work in this beautiful area; it is unique. I am based at Windermere and Troutbeck. My favourite work is drystone walling and hedgelaying. I enjoy instructing Working Holiday Groups in both of these traditional crafts. Part of my work involves keeping the numbers of "invasive non native species" down as much as possible. I also continue to work on a project, the aim of which is to increase the numbers of the scarce touch me not balsam plants,(yellow flowering plants in the image's background!) which the rare netted carpet moth depends upon for its survival. The numbers of moths and plants are mainly restricted to a few small sites in The Lake District.

Blog:
http://centralandeastlakesrangers.blogspot.co.uk/