Sunday, 31 January 2016
Thursday, 28 January 2016
Wednesday, 27 January 2016
In the meantime let us know who's chewing their way through your outback
Tuesday, 26 January 2016
|The wetland on its opening day in 1997 - About as unwild as you can get|
At first it can appear to be ‘invasive’ smothering out more ‘interesting’ vegetation and species. In the old days there was less dense scrub and more Whitethroats but no Long Tailed Tits, Lesser Whitethroats or Blackcaps. Since then the trees and bushes have grown in some areas and begun to shade out the earlier successional Brambles. In the absence of sufficient volunteers and or cattle, Red Deer or Wild Boar to break up the thickets of Brambles it does appear that they are taking over areas of the reserve becoming a mono-culture and they are out-competing some of the more ‘interesting’ plants. Volunteer parties have recently 'become' the large herbivores and broken up some of the stands of Brambles to give the smaller species a fighting chance. Some of the trees have been pruned (equivalent to being broken by passing Wisents?), some have been coppiced and the brash piled up (similar to Beaver activity although the piles are on land not in the water). All that’s missing is the dung, but then as we said earlier there is nutrient deposition in the form of atmospheric nitrogen but that doesn’t help the dung beetles does it…and then species that eat dung beetles at the various stages of their life-cycle…what was it we said earlier about fully functioning ecosystems?
Wild Boar would be great to have around the place grubbing up tasty Bramble roots, disturbing the soil allowing the seed bank to germinate, or perhaps not seeing as the reserve is on a former landfill site bringing more rubbish to the surface to be taken away. Not sure if the neighbouring golf course would be too chuffed to have their greens and fairways excavated, they'd have to go to the expense and inconvenience of securely fencing their perimeter - wouldn't do that would just apply to shoot the boar it's sooooo much easier to get rid of inconvenient wildlife than mitigate against it....isn't that so Badger cullers?
The reedbed areas similarly need breaking up and are difficult to manage with specialist machinery especially in deeper areas...we're thinking Moose! Be great to have a couple of those sploshing around creating open water patches for the amphibians and dragonflies etc and lots of reed edge margin for the Bitterns to fish in as well as forcing channels through the reeds for the fish to move along.
Then we learn that the Glenridding Hotel is flooded yet again the 4th time this winter; if ever there was a time to seriously consider rewilding and mega tree planting on large areas of our National Parks this has to be it. The catchment for Glenridding is about 10 km2 (4 sq miles) and there's barely a tree in sight. Trees won't stop flooding altogether but they can slow flows and reduce the peak water. It's surely time the general public asked farmers to farm water and wildlife as well as sheep and cattle - we need them more than the little meat they give us from the marginal 'agricultural' land. The government need to set policies and incentives for farmers to be able to do just that. Trees in the hills what will The Ramblers say?
|On this map there are place names of deer, Wild Boar and Heron (?=Erne = eagle) hint's of what used to live there and perhaps could again some day soon.|
Apologies for the dodgy formatting - not sure what's going on there, been a nightmare!
Where to next? More rain, wind and wave wimping on Patch 2 probably
In the meantime let us know how wild your outback is being allowed to get.
Sunday, 24 January 2016
Only the way to the owls we found another Blackthorn in flower.
in the meantime let us know who's poking through the soil in your outback.
Friday, 22 January 2016
And if a rock is thrown higher up onto the Sabellaria mounds it doesn't do them any good at all, they act like grindstones.
Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Turning it around a bit if the league had been contested by PPB we’d have come in at a slightly higher 14th.
Today we were at Patch 2 again but there was little on a rather murky sea and as far as we could see there were fewer Redshanks today with only 25 counted, but there could have been some out of sight below us at the base of the wall. There weren’t very many gulls and even fewer Oystercatchers.
We did take the camera to work today and almost got the first ever pic of a Song Thrush at work but a dog walker appeared and flushed it an instant before we pressed the shutter.
The sea gave us nothing, although DG informed us that the fishermen are catching Whiting so there ought to be a Harbour Porpoise or two about. She also told us the Peregrine was back on the church tower this arvo.
That was enough to send us back to Base Camp early so as we could get back out to the Starlings - we were there yesterday too, with CR. There was a grey out with no hint of horizon betwixt sea and sky.
The Starlings began to come in in huge flocks of several thousand at a time - this is a small part of one of those flocks.
A fair crowd had gathered to watch the spectacle, on our side of the pier there were at least 20 folk with cameras, no idea how many if any were on the south side.
It was a great spectacle
couldn't have been more different, not a cloud in the sky!
And a bit of a sunset began to develop illuminating the little shrimping boat working the tide.
The Peregrine was still on the tower in the town centre too, a little too far away for a proper pic.
It stayed up there, wasn't interesting in the huge amount of meat on the wing, probably already stuffed full of Feral Pigeon or catches the Starlings when they leave the roost at first light - Once again there were a few people gathered for the evening's performance.
Starlings came in than yesterday, perhaps as many as 50000! But the murmuration was quite small, most of them landing on the beach as the tide was out. Until they were flushed by a dog walker that is.
|Sunset mode on camera for this one and the one above|
Didn't know you could play the guitar with frozen fingers - it became really cold once the sun had gone down!
Leather-jackets being consumed in farmers' fields around the county at the mo to keep that number of Starlings well fed
Where to next? School group attacking the pond tomorrow, hopefully before the rain starts and we'll have another try for that worm collecting Blackbird.