Sunday, 3 March 2013

Unforced labour

The Safari had a day off from wildlife safari-ing and met up with three other members of the BEAT NatureWatch group to do some practical conservation work...with real spades n stuff!
We braved very pleasant early spring sunshine and excessive Brambles to remove a huge clump of non-native bamboo and about 50 tree saplings that had been planted in the nature area for reptiles and amphibians by well meaning but unfortunately ill-advised members of the public.
The bamboo was taken to the zoo where it will be enjoyed by a selection of animals including their gorgeous Red Pandas. The trees will be trans-located to new homes in various locations along the North Blackpool Pond Trail.
Also at this site is our tiny population of Water Voles. we had a bit of a quick survey along the bank rather than getting in to the water. We found a few burrows and this latrine which we think the droppings are as indicated in the pic - any help anyone? The Rat(?) droppings were a little longer, thicker and more pointy. They were drier and well out of the water so they could have been the same colour in the beginning.
We found a lovely patch of moss on an old log.

Nearby another log was full of Jelly Ear Fungus - formerly known as the (now unPC) Jew's Ear Fungus.
Lovely purple hue to them today but as hard as iron to the touch, not the normal wibbly-wobbly jelly texture
While we were photographing this the others were rummaging around near the water's edge lifting up all manner of litter/fly tipping/ logs etc and found this little chap.

Smooth Newt - not stalking a worm as it appears to be
Turning a slab we also found five Frogs lurking beneath...not long now buntil the first spawn appears.
After we'd left the zoo we had to take the kit back to the nature reserve so we had a quick look in the Feeding Station while we were there.
Some fun with the Pheasants in the feeders that have sadly been trashed by drunken teenage ar*ewipes - what on earth do they get out of numptyness like that?
Mind you don't get yer head stuck down there!
 A Woodpigeon only gave one photo opportunity, it flew when it heard the camera shutter.
Time to get back to Base Camp but outside the hide we spotted more signs of spring in the form of some nice Hazel catkins.

Back at Base Camp Frank was looking cute with one of Wifey's shoes but his bad leg is still giving him gyp after his puppy-like leaping around the other day. he's had a couple of quiet days so hopefully it'll be better soon.
Where to next? There's a Surf Scoter to be re-found on Patch 2 - apparently no sign of it today...
In the meantime let us know who's been well meaning but got it all horribly wrong in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

Nice set of photo's today Davyman - spring is creeping up on us :-)

Stuart Price said...

I'm happy to say I have no direct experience with rat droppings.

God luck with the Scoter.......