At the March wildlife...
group volunteer work party we tidied up the rest of the coppiced area along the originally very shaded part of the stream between the Jubilee and Shitterton bridges.
Then we continued clearing an area which was previously an open area between the pathway and the stream. In keeping the undergrowth in check along this very wet area we plan to maintain a balance between creating more open areas for wildflowers to flourish and leaving denser areas for small mammals and hedgehogs.
Where we cleared some now flooded areas near the pathway there has been a marked improvement in the flowering of marsh marigolds and blach pondrush.
The last working party of the season will be held on Saturday 4th April.
We will be fencing off part of the pond at Souls Moor.
The pond was dug for two reasons.
One – to provide the ponies with a constant source of water;
Two – to establish a new wildlife habitat as the still water of a pond is beneficial for plants and amphibians that cannot survive in the moving waters of the river.
The pond has been a success on both counts.
However, the surrounds to the whole pond are being trampled by the ponies, which means that marginal plants are having difficulty in establishing.
To overcome the problem we intend to fence off part of the pond and its immediate margin to prevent trampling by the ponies when they return in the summer.
Easy access will still be available to much of the pond to allow the ponies to drink.
Do join us on for the working party on Saturday 4th April.
We meet by the stream bridge near to the Scout Hut, Elder Road at 10am or you can find us on Souls Moor.
We normally finish about 12.00. All are welcome – young (under 16s should be accompanied by an adult).
If you have a spade, fork, hammer or sledgehammer please bring them with you – if you don’t, no problem we’ll have some spares along with other necessary tools.
Spring Migrations It’s the season for migration with lots of birds either leaving our shores to breed in the Artic (eg Brent Geese – they love our warm winters!) or arriving for the summer having spent the winter months in Africa (eg Swallows – they hate our cold winters!).
The first swallow is typically s early April.
Do look out for the first Swallow along with other migrants – such as Swifts, House Martins, Cuckoo and Chiffchaff.
Let us know about your local wildlife sightings so we can get a better idea of what’s around in our area.
Plant Viruses It is not only humans and animals that can contract viruses.
Plants do too.
The virus Xylella fastidiosa is one of the biggest risks to the UK horticultural industry and the wider garden and natural landscape.
It infects a wide range of plants including many species which grow wild and in our gardens, such as cherry, hebe, lavender, oak and rosemary.
The bacterium causes symptoms including leaf scorch, wilt, dieback and plant death.
Unfortunately these symptoms are easily confused with stresses such as frost damage and drought, or other plant diseases and thus not easy to spot.
Xylella is spread between plants by insects such as froghoppers and leafhoppers which feed on infected plants but cause no damage in themselves.
However, long-distance movement of the disease is most likely to occur through international trade in infected plant material.
Xylella is native to the Americas where it causes disease in many crops including citrus, coffee and grapevine.
Until recently Xylella was absent from Europe but in 2013, Xylella was identified as the cause of death of olive trees in Italy.
Since then it has been found in France and Germany (on oleander and polygala), on numerous ornamental plants (including cherry trees) in the Balearic Islands, and has been confirmed in an almond orchard in Alicante, mainland Spain.
Fortunately, Xyella has not been identified in the UK to date.
As a gardener, the most beneficial action you can take is to ensure that any plants you buy have been sourced and grown in the UK.
When buying plants, check the label and if in any doubt ask the nursery or garden centre.
Contact Us If you would like to know more about the work of the Wildlife and Environment Group or to be included on our mailing list, please contact:
Tony Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org / 01929 471563
Amy Yates at AmyEyeats@hotmail.com or
Mike Gee at mike.n.g@outlook./com / 0775 988 4942.