Some great news / worthy mention: here are 3 photos taken earlier this week at the official opening of the new café at Beacon Hill Country Park, to which Brian and John were invited. The photographs show the picnic tables that were made by the Wednesday Workshop group, something that was pointed out to the dignitaries that were present. Good recognition of the work this group does - massive well done to those who made them!
Some pictures from the last workshop session at Snibston.... The last 2 picnic benches were treated as was the engraved memorial piece. A start was made on the marking out and cutting the posts for the handrail project. The design for the bird hide was discussed and rough sketches made. Well done to all the volunteers involved - great progress!!
Our last volunteer session included some pond dipping to guage the overall health and the variety of species of each pond. The pond dipping went really well although we only had time to look at two ponds. Volunteers enjoyed the event even though the rain kept on coming down. We found a really good number of crawly-looking things, some of which were actually identified. Even the BBQ went well in the continuous rain - thanks to Vera and Mick for organising this.
Notes - Pond Dipping - Survey on 6th July 2019.
Two ponds were surveyed and the surveys were carried out by volunteers using nets around the edges of the ponds to capture samples. Any specimens recovered were, where possible, identified. The identification was to the level of commonly used names, which in some cases would have represented a group, but no attempt was made to identify individual species. There was no attempt to estimate the number of any one species that may have been present.
Some invertebrates were seen which could not be identified.
Pond Number 1 - The large Top Pond.
Groups which were identified:-
Tadpoles, which were very common throughout the pond edges and numerous where there was pond weed. We found tadpoles at a number of different stages, and of different sizes, which would suggest that we were looking at tadpoles from both frogs and toads.
Dragonfly larvae, a small number were recorded
Alderfly Larvae, a small number were found
Water Beetle, again a small number were found
Back swimmers, a small number were found
Water scorpion, a small number were found
Water stick insect, a small number were found
Pond skaters, these were seen in reasonable quantities.
Water spiders, some of these were found, but not sure if this identification is correct.
Leeches, small numbers of these were seen at the edges near the pontoon.
This range of invertebrates would suggest that the pond is moderately healthy. The water was not quite clear, but did appear to be clearer than it has been.
Pond Number 3 - Smaller pond on the side of the large boardwalk.
Groups which were identified:-
Newts, there were large numbers of newt tadpoles and it is likely that these were both smooth newt and great crested newt tadpoles.
Dragonfly larvae, these were also very common with significant numbers found.
Backswimmers were found in small numbers
Small mussel-type shells were also found.
We only had a short time surveying this pond, but it was obviously very different from Pond No. 1 - much more pond weed and other aquatic plants. The water was significantly clearer and from the small number of species that were found it would suggest that this is a healthier pond.
John Macdonald, July 2019
We had a walk around New Lount Nature Reserve at the end of a volunteer session recently - we saw as many common spotted orchids as last year, but we also found a large number of Bee Orchids (photo). This is the first time these have been recorded at New Lount for over 20 years, although they have been quite common in the past - which is a great sign for the site.
We have had some great progress recently with building outdoor furniture during our Wednesday workshop sessions at the Rangers's Snibston base, Many thanks to our excellent skilled volunteers!!
Saturday's Plant Sale at New Lount was very well attended and raised £417, a very similar to last year. Between the two plant sales, the group will benefit from a total income in excess of £1,000, which we will be using for training, protective ware and the replacement of tools.
These annual Plant Sales have become popular with the local community and as well as raising essential funds for the group, they also attract local residents to the sites.
Our sincere thanks to all the individuals and local businesses that help and support us every year.
A massive THANK YOU and well done to our fantastic volunteers who attend workshop sessions on Wednesdays at the Rangers' workshops at Snibston who make a range of items for the group and our 2 sites - bird boxes, storage boxes, sandmartin homes, display boards, benches etc. Below is their latest bench, completed earlier this week and appearing soon at a nature reserve near you!