I like friendly wildlife or if you’re being pragmatic and probably more biologically accurate cold-blooded wildlife that can't actually physically move.
I like to think my finger was the equivalent of a hot radiator on a cold day; she flew off a few minutes later. She is a Black Darter by the way and she and quite a few of her fellow Darters live at Llyn Fach, a natural lake SSSI where we’ve been working for the past few weeks thanks to a Biffa Award grant.
Our main task is the removal of non-native Conifer and other scrub regrowth from the regenerating upland heath habitat which surrounds the lake.
Being used to clearing Hawthorn from Taf Fechan for the past few years this Conifer lark was going to be easy or at least that happy thought was in the mind right up until grabbing the first tree. Oh wait no these are just as scratchy, pointy and deviously stabby as Hawthorn!
Still, looking on the bright side your hands may well be ruined but at least they smell of Conifer resin.
So why don’t you wear gloves?
Yes we thought of that and we found that the best gloves for this particular job are welders gauntlets (big red ones) because your basic ordinary gardening glove just can’t hack it.
It's probably not a use that the manufacturers of big red gauntlets thought they would be put but I think the phrase “also guaranteed to stop Sitka spruce needles continually stabbing you in that really painful spot between the fingers!” on the packaging could only improve sales.
Despite the niggly feeling we’re somehow declaring war on Christmas it’s nice to see the Heath appear as the Conifers are methodically removed patch by patch.