Field Notes: Return to Quinag
Quinag Conservation Officer Romany Garnett is happy to be back on the hill monitoring tree seedlings and butterflies
Getting out onto Quinag after weeks of lockdown feels a bit like being released again. Previous freedom that was taken for granted is now savoured as a rare treat. July is late in the season to begin monitoring, but reduced activities due to Covid-19 means I have more time than I usually would. Normally guided walks and events like the Wild Flower Day would be in full swing.
I set off with GPS to find and measure the marked seedlings. This work, once completed, is compared to previous years data and helps to inform us of browsing pressures locally. Monitoring in July is a bit more problematic due to the waist-high bracken that has shot up. It is slow work and can take a while to find the numbered tag at the bottom of each seedling. However, once in the zone, I find the memory kicks in as these tree seedlings are visited annually and are all very familiar. They are mixture of holly, birch, hazel, rowan and willow.
After completing a stretch of ground on the south side of Quinag, I pause on a rock in the afternoon sun. A mixture of dancing butterflies rise up through the bog myrtle and molinia. I record over 20: small pearl bordered fritillaries; small heaths and meadow browns. This is a rare treat seeing so many butterflies and a bonus to being out later in the year. I pack away flask and equipment into the rucksack as there is another section over to the east to begin and still a lot more work to be done.
^ Dark green fritillary by Romany Garnett