Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean








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12 April 2011

Ridley Bottom Nature Reserve GWT

Grid Ref SO563985

Today we were to erect fencing around the reserve in order to contain the hebridean sheep which will graze on the reserve at the end of the flowering season. The fencing consisted of stout poles which were to be uniformily spaced, larger wooden posts for the corners and, then, sheep wire to be stretched across. This was a constructive task which most of us had not tried before and attains a satisfactory outcome!

The meadow is already abundant in spring flowers such as cowslips, false oxslips, primroses, violets, dog mercury, wood anenome. There were also signs of early flowering bluebells, wild garlic and the early purple orchid which was a great find.

Then we saw the Holly Blue butterfly as well! A good day out!.

Instructions on the plan of action!
The GWT truck is loaded with the posts which we soon have on the ground.

Holly Blue Butterfly (Celastrina argiolus )

A very small blue butterfly with a few small black spots across its wings and a black border that is more pronounced in females. The undersides of the wings are pale blue. The body is blue and covered in long hairs. The antennae are black with small white stripes along their length. This butterfly appears slightly silvery when in flight. The caterpillar is small and light green.

Holly blues are widespread throughout Britain and Europe. They inhabit woodlands and gardens, particularly where there is both holly and ivy. The spring brood of caterpillars feed on holly, whereas the summer brood feed on ivy. Caterpillars also feed on gorse and bramble. Adults tend to feed on the flowers of ivy and holly.

This species has two broods in the summer. The first, in the spring, feed on holly and when they become adults and have mated they lay their eggs on ivy plants. The ivy brood overwinter as chrysalids and emerge in the spring to mate and lay their eggs on holly.

Holly Blue butterfly











Unloading the truck


Fencing starts!


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