Wednesday 29 May 2019

Valerian defoliation

Lade  - cool and cloudy, S 3 - We`ve been away from the shingle for just under a week so it felt good to be back on the flatlands with its wide open spaces; Dorset was ok, but too hilly, while a wedding visit to Sharpthorne on the edge of the Ashdown forest (Gos, Redstart and Woodlark) had too many trees for my liking. Anyhow, spent most of the morning locally, first off clearing a frugal garden  moth trap where Treble Lines and Cream-spot Tigers were the highlights.

                                Cream-spot Tigers and Treble Lines

                                           Viper`s Bugloss and Foxglove in full flower

  On the local patch it was incredible how the vegetation had advanced in a week (well at least some it...) with Vipers Bugloss, Foxglove, Prostrate Broom, Stonecrop and the like all now in full flower. However, walking along the old railway track towards the tunnel I was confronted with a scene of Valerian defoliation on a scale previously unseen here before as RSPB had recently sprayed/gelled this prolific garden escape; it did not look pretty and the stench was appalling, so I quickly moved through as I didn`t want Barney to come into contact with any of the vegetation. It wasn't long before I was accosted by local dog walkers having a right old  moan about the situation which I found difficult to defend. While I understand that invasive species have to be controlled, Valerian is attractive to many species of insects including butterflies, such as Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady, so surely there must be a better way of managing it, particularly at this time of year when birds are feeding their young.  
  On a brighter note I did confirm a pair each of breeding Ringed Plover on the Desert and Oystercatcher on the scaffold island, both having two fluffy youngsters.

                                Valerian defoliation

  The weather deteriorated this afternoon with some much-needed rain. A check of the north lake delivered a few Swifts over the water and the Cuckoo calling loudly, but little else of note.


  1. That defoliation is uncalled for Paul! Will be intrigued to find out why it was carried out.

  2. It looks dreadful and is a PR disaster. I`m assuming its been done to control an invasive garden escape, but in the middle of the breeding season... I`ll have a word with Craig, hopefully there`s not more to come.