Himalayan balsam at Rhos Glyn Yr Helyg – July 2011

In 2009 we started pulling Himalayan balsam from the river banks on Rhos Glyn yr Helyg Nature Reserve. It was fairly new to the site so hadn’t taken over completely but still took a couple of days to pull with the help of volunteers.We hung it in tree branches to keep the roots off the ground and prevent reshooting. From the distribution it looked like it had come down a small stream that leads into the main river.

Himalayan Balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Himalayan Balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

In 2010 there didn’t seem to be much of a change in the distribution or density and we pulled again. When we returned this year expecting the same we were pleasantly surprised to find much less, we almost had to search for it and although I’d programmed two days to do the job we were finished by lunch time on the first day.

Although still spread across the whole of the original area it was very sparse at the upstream end and denser at the downstream boundary, though not as dense as in previous years. I will return in a few weeks to remove any we missed in the hope that there will be even less next year. I will need to keep checking in the future because unless the source upstream, on someone else’s land, is removed it will keep coming back.

We also finished the deer damage survey at Coed Maidie this month. We found no new damage but lots of old. This seemed to be the case throughout the woodland and there was barely any found last year either.  Either we are looking at the wrong time of year or the deer aren’t using the woods so much anymore.

We spent a sunny day at Rhos Pil Bach cutting back the entrance track and removing willow seedlings from the grassland. While we were there we were lucky enough to see an adult Marsh fritillary butterfly, the first one I’ve seen. We’ll be back later in the year to count larval webs in the hope that there was more than one adult!

We spent a few more days at Coed Penglanowen finishing clearing debris from the stream to prevent flooding and clearing the paths both there and in Old Warren Hill of vegetation, especially bracken and brambles which were taking over somewhat in places.

Orchids at Caeau Llety Cybi Photo by E Foot

Orchids at Caeau Llety Cybi Photo by E Foot

At Caeau Llety Cybi we had a busy two days pulling bracken and ragwort and counting the greater butterfly orchids. There were 238, over 100 fewer than last year but over a hundred more than the year before. We also pulled many bags of ragwort at Rhos Glandenys and replaced a gate post.

Thank you to everyone who has helped this month. If you would like to volunteer with us in Ceredigion there are work parties twice a week out on the reserves, year round, contact Em on 07980932332 or e.foot@welshwildlife.org