Cotoneaster Clearance Work Party to benefit Slender Scotch Burnet moth

Cotoneaster-microphyllus-Eas-Fors-August-JS-01.jpgCotoneaster microphyllus at Eas Fors waterfall. Photo: John Sawyer.

Come join us at the Cotoneaster Clearance Work Party to benefit Slender Scotch Burnet moth, Kilninian, Mull. This is part of the Burnets and Bees Mini-Festival from 17th to 20th September 2015.

Date: Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September

Time:  Anytime from10.30 – c4pm each day

Details:  The day-flying Slender Scotch Burnet moth is known from only 6-7 sites on Mull, Ulva and Gometra and nowhere else in the UK.  The moth inhabits low cliffs and grassy banks on or near the coast.  Furthermore it is usually restricted to slopes with a sunny, south-facing aspect, with underlying basalt rock where its caterpillar’s sole foodplant, bird’s-foot trefoil, grows in short, flower-rich vegetation, with some bare ground.   

However, on the cliffs near Kilninian, the moth is threatened by encroachment from Cotoneaster.  This invasive non-native shrub has escaped from gardens and has become well-established on the thin-soiled species-rich undercliffs and on the cliffs themselves. 

Since 2007 we have been waging battle against the cotoneaster with both volunteers and contractors.  Encouragingly, the moth was re-discovered at the site in 2012 after an absence of four years so we are keen to press on with the work and have been working with Coille Alba and a local contractor. 

To progress this work further we are hosting another volunteer workparty weekend to help cut back the cotoneaster with hand tools (secateurs and loppers). 

Directions:  Kilninian lies on the west coast of Mull between Calgary and Ulva Ferry.  Please follow our road signs to the track that leads down to the site which is immediately to the east of the Allt na Cille burn at grid ref NM403457.  Cars can either be left at the top of the track or carefully driven down and parked slightly closer to the site down a rough track.  Coloured flags will then mark the route out to the work site on the undercliffs at approximately NM404449.  On the Sunday we may access the site from the east, with parking at NM412448, if this is the case car parking will be signposted and coloured flags will lead you out to the work site.

What’s needed:  It is essential that you wear boots with a good grip and ankle support as we will be working on steep grassy slopes.  Also wear old clothes, bring gloves, and a packed lunch.  Hand-tools (secateurs and loppers) as well as gloves will be available but feel free to bring your own. 

Other information:  Please call in even it is just for an hour anytime over the two days as every little helps.  We may be able to contribute to your travel expenses, but this pot is limited so please contact Tom in the first instance if you would like to take advantage of this so that we can ensure that there is sufficient money to go round.  It may be possible to camp on the beach at Kilninian at approx. NM402454.

Burnets and Bees Mini-Festival.

Also as part of the mini-festival Bumblebee Conservation Trust are also holding the following  two free workshops.

Wildflower Seed Collecting: -Thursday 17th September 10am – 3.30pm at Glengorm Castle

We’ll hear some talks about how, when and why to collect local wildflower seed, and how to propagate it to help grow plants.  In the afternoon, we’ll collect seed from a nearby area, which will be later sown into conservation areas, including at Kilninian, or saved to be grown on later.

Bumblebee Identification for Beginners  - Saturday 19th September 10am – 3.30pm at Dervaig village hall.

Talks in the morning will focus on the importance of bumblebees as pollinators and their fascinating life story, as well as how to identify the different species.  In the afternoon, we’ll go outside to find some real bees to practise our new skills on.

For more information about these events please contact: 

Katy Malone:  Email: katy.malone@bumblebeeconservation.org  Tel: 075544 14052