On Saturday, March 25, we worked diligently on the hillside below Dívčí Hrady from the morning. Rakes, pitchforks and sacks were in permanence, as we raked the cut bushes together with the old wood chips and transferred them to large piles. A lot of volunteers from the public also arrived, so the work went pretty smoothly. Before noon, the youngest participants took a trip to the Jinofarm community farm, from where the goats will be moved here below Dívčí Hrady during the spring. The children were happy with them for now and then they just returned to the fire, by which we had lunch together. Even though some of the volunteers gradually left after lunch, we were still digging in a fairly large group until almost four in the afternoon, before the dark clouds began to descend. Just before the abundant spring break, we managed to clean up all the tools and go under the roof. Many thanks to all the helpers and we look forward to seeing you, for example, when observing butterflies!
We christened the Butterfly pexetrio and started an exhibition of paintings
On Monday afternoon, in the atrium of the FES CULS Prague in Suchdol, a number of art lovers assembled for the opening of a double exhibition of paintings by Markéta Vítková and Vítězslava Faltysová. Not only butterflies were to be seen, but also other insects in great detail and many colors. The opening included a sample reading from the gamebook Maruška a místo pro motýly and the Butterfly Pexetrio was christened. The children present immediately tested pexetrio in a sharp duel. For those interested, we have also prepared a short presentation of our conservation projects and emerging worksheets for the task game at Dívčí Hrady. The exhibition will be open every weekday until about mid-April.
Even in winter, we do everything for our forest-steppe ideal
We sometimes look into the field despite of snow and freeze! This period of sleeping nature is ideal for pruning. After careful consideration, we decided that the site above Asuan reservoir still looked too much like a forest instead of the colorful forest-steppe landscape we were trying to create to support insects. So we went to clear it with chainsaws. There was also a proper fire and the smell of burritos.
New helpers were born!
Emilka and Jarmilka were born on the Jinofarm community farm in Jinonice, whose horned and hornless residents help us to graze the forest-steppe sites. We look forward to seeing them join the insect conservation work soon too!
Chapman´ s blue (Polyommatus thersites) is doing well at Dívčí Hrady
During monitoring at the Dívčí Hrady site in 2022, we counted 672 individuals of Chapman´ s blue (Polyommatus thersites). This species became extinct in Prague approximately 20 years ago, and in 2018 our team managed to return it to the nature of Prague. The P. thersites population would thrive here thanks to the proper management of the site, which consists of gradual strip and mosaic hay cutting. In this way, the nutrient plant of this species – Onobrychis viciifolia – can be seeded and spread from the fields we have established into the surrounding area. The monitoring will continue in 2023 as well.
Marry Christmas And a Happy New Year 2023!
The insect ecology group of CULS in Prague wishes everyone a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year 2023 filled with fun insects! We are already preparing for it and we hope that the insects will be increasing at our sites!
From the field to the lab
After the end of the field season, we work diligently in the processing of arthropod samples from sheared vegetation. Individual individuals are classified into higher taxa and subsequently determined to the level of species or k we send the determination to colleagues – specialists for the given taxa.
Winter may come – the last management at Dívčí Hrady
During November, we mowed and then raked and cleared stubbles and depicting the outcrops of expansive woody plants and blackberries at the hillside below Dívčí hrady. At the same time on the upper part of the slope goats were grazed until the first snow in the second half of November. The last strip cutting at Dívčí Hrady took place at the beginning of November, and at the end of the month it was cleared. The part of the nectar-bearing areas was mown according to current state of vegetation.
School children helped us with final autumn cleaning above Asuan
After the sheep and goat grazing, there were small stubbles and stunted shoots left on the hillside above Asuan reservoir. Therefore, it was necessary to pull out the brush cutter before winter. We mowed a larger area of the hillside, which then had to be raked and cleaned. Pupils from the nearby FZŠ prof. Otokara Chlupa helped us a lot. In several groups, they dug up cut branches and twigs. All the biomass was then carried or dragged into large piles. After work, they deservedly enjoyed a fire with sausages.
Visit and Consultation with Austrian Partners (Innsbruck)
During the first half of October, we payed a visit to our foreign partner RNDr. DI Karl Černý (Gerichtlich beeideter Sachverständiger für Ökologie und Insektenkunde) in Austria. The aim of the meeting was the joint implementation of active management at sites around Innsbruck, which host an endangered fauna of diurnal butterflies, with a number of unique species from other taxonomic groups as well. As part of the management measures, we hepled to eliminate expansive woody plants and bramble stands, which are also a significant problem on some of our areas in Prague. Through an active approach and especially the subsequent consultation, we gained very valuable knowledge about how to effectively solve these problems with overgrowing of xerothermic habitats in the long term. We look forward to further active cooperation!