Wednesday, 10 September 2014

More kingfishers

Having decided to do more major works, luckily, I met Keith Clack who told me that the kingfishers were sitting on our minimalist posts quite happily. So we just decided to clear the view to the dead branches and leave well alone. Happy kingfisher viewing! If you get any good photos please let me have some for the blog and other publicity.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Not all about scything

Scything continues to be a favourite activity with the Thursday volunteers. We have allocated a small area at Rushy Commmon to see if we can create a wildflower area by cutting and removing the cuttings and spreading some wildflower seeds and planting a few suitable plants. There are, of course, masses of wild flowers around the rest of the site but the aim of this patch is to make an area that is attractive to bees and other invertebrates and is visible to visitors to the bird hide.
 Chris photographed the only surviving viper's-bugloss plant from our initial planting last year. Red clover, common fleabane, selfheal, purple loosestrife and water mint have already established naturally, providing a good food source for bees, hoverflies and butterflies. We are also going to clear some bare patches and spread some locally sourced seed of yellow rattle, knapweed etc but as you can see below the grass looks very vigorous so it might be a long term project to get the less dominant wild flowers established.

We then went on to create kingfisher perches as requested by several of the birdwatchers. But when we looked on the far side of the hide, where a kingfisher has been seen visiting quite often, we found a network of branches that looked much more interesting than our simple single  branch support. We decided that we were not satisfied with our efforts and this is a work in progress so we are going to have another go this week. Watch this space....and hopefully get good views of the kingfishers in the months to come.

Chris also provided a useful resting place for a very friendly ruddy darter dragonfly.

Pond dippers' delight

You just never know what you might catch when you go pond dipping but with Angus and Sarah on hand there was plenty to find and identify. But Bob preferred to stay in the water he didn't want to sit in  a tray.
Most of us had never seen a water stick insect before
and there were far too many snails-anyone got the garlic butter?
On land there were interesting discoveries to be made as well, including the very rare six-legged umbrella beetle.

And gooey spotty stuff. And masses of  gungey green algae.
 ' Oooh its all slimey and gooey  let me touch it,' said Mabel aged 3.
Our very informal study of Tar Lakes showed that there is a great variety of species already established in the lake. A proper scientific survey will be taking place soon in the Rushy Common lake. The Freshwater Habitats Trust have been carrying out regular surveys which show that Rushy Common is one of the most biodiverse lakes in the valley. It is rated as High Value for its plant richness and rarity attributes and of High or Very High value for macroinvertebrates attributes. The forthcoming survey will show if it has reached maximum diversity or whether new species continue to colonise.