2020 is not a year to forget easily for all the wrong reasons, but despite the restrictions we did manage a healthy dose of conservation and maintenance work with a handful of group outings from the back end of the summer. Restrictions tightened again of course but a lucky few still managed to make it out on tasks, paired up with me where there was no escape from my rambling -witterings ; )
Repairs to the steps on the east side of the ‘craig’; BBQ site repairs, owl box erection, bat box checks, pirri pulling, burning and ‘beating up’ of new tree plantings comprised some of the work on site.
There has also been an amazing mount of litter cleared by other volunteers and members of the public when they visit the site throughout the year. You know who you are, and thank you for all the help. It makes a massive difference!
I’ll be in touch about more opportunities to burn off those mince pies in January 21 , T hanks again for all your support.
It was as cold as it looked as we tackled, literally in some cases, buckthorn regrowth along the dune face at Longskelly point.
The dunes are largely clear of sea buckthorn thanks to efforts of Friends of Yellowcraig, TCV and LCV who have all put in a shift over the winter, so many thanks to all that came , dug and cut there way through it.
Pirri pirri was the task of choice today, but just enough was picked to ensure that we felt we had earned the odd mince pie or two.
We were joined by Emily Burton, Volunteer co-ordinator at the Scottish Seabird Centre who is taking forward the Wildline project, aiming to tackle invasive species like pirri pirri along other sections of the East Lothian coast.
The gods were smiling on us as despite the forecast the weather stayed dry and the fire stayed lit just long enough to roast some chestnuts and heat the pies.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who gave up their time and gave us their energy in 2019.
As the well known ditty goes: “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands around your sandwich to wring the frigid water out]”, which incidentally marked the point when we through in the towel (if only we’d had that too!).
If it’s good enough for cormorants!
For once rain seemed destined to plague us all morning, increasing in persistence throughout as we commenced the first pirri digging activity of the year.
It was a tough gig when temperatures are down and you are sitting in one place for a prolonged period trying to disentangle the roots and stems, leaving as much of the natural dune vegetation as possible.
Progress was made, but was slow and following a particular impressive dousing at lunch, we beat a retreat, with a few less bedraggled souls staying on to undertake an early spring clean on the tool container.
Here’s hoping for sunnier sessions to come over the winter.
Thanks all for toughing it out as long as you did!
Summer reared its head for a brief moment today allowing the Friends of Yellowcraig a taste of summer as we cleared sea buckthorn branches where it was overgrowing the path.
Working at the closest point on land to Fidra we were treated to a delightful background soundtrack of seabird calls and song. There are few better places to be on days like that.
It is over ten years since the sea buckthorn that grew on the foredunes between the BBQ site and the beach in front of Archerfield were cleared by mulching machinery.
The dunes have since recovered magnificently with an array of wildflowers and invertebrates such as Cinnabar moth on display . It is also one of the best areas to catch a glimpse of a wall butterfly when they are on the wing.
Thanks to all who made it along and to Liz for the photos.
We headed along to the SSSI dune frontage of Archerfield Links today, assisting the course by planting up gaps in the sea buckthorn barrier on the seaward side of the green fence.
Planting sea buckthorn is certainly a first for Friends of Yellowcraig, and it is a darn site easier than removing it.
We spend a fair amount of time removing it at other parts of the site but it is a case of the right plant for the right place. The intention here being to maintain a barrier to direct access from Archerfield Links/shoreside housing onto the SSSI coast, while also screening the fence around the golf course.
Fuelled by caffeine and chocolate we launched into the tall grasses growing up, and over in some cases, the young trees growing on the west side of the car park.
New skills were learned in taking the reins (or should it be lead) of the Great Dane which made short work of the vegetation…
…once all the rubbish had been cleared of course.
Some tree cutting also in the afternoon to thin an area of the main woodland rounded off the session, which also provided an opportunity to cut some stakes destined for use on a hedging project in Dirleton.
More settled but cool weather graced the last pirri pulling session of the winter.
Patches were generally a lot smaller than in previous years…which has the unfortunate downside of making it more time consuming to find. A survey scheduled for the end of 2019 should allow us to measure the progress we have made over the last few years.
If it’s not the dog trying to steal your lunch it is the birds! The crows presence and its pied wagtail pal made up for an otherwise quiet day wildlife wise.