We have had another brilliant month with the Blackdown Hills team. We travelled to The Perch SSSI with Somerset Mammal group to check Dormice boxes. We were fortunate to see some, luckily in a calm and tepid state! We have continued to survey areas within the AONB to enhance our botanising skills at sites including Bishopswood as well as a guided walk of Southleigh and Gotleigh Moor SSSI, with heath and mire botany with David Allen of the Devonshire Association.
Halfway through the month we were fortunate enough to have a two day grass and sedge ID training session with Dominic Price who was an exceptionally good teacher! Lastly we managed to squeeze in a few newt surveys before the season ended, however we were only successful in finding a Great Crested newt at one site this month.
Looking forward to what next month brings!
June! Another very busy month and lots more exciting sites, species and training; covering everything from bats to butterflies, grasses to Great Crested newts and definitely not forgetting the very cute dormice at the start of the month.
June marks the end of the Great Crested newt survey season and we were lucky enough at the last site we surveyed to see them in both larvae and adult form. Whilst box checking with Somerset Mammal group at the start of the month we saw some very cute sleepy (and one not so sleepy) Dormice. The two day grasses course with Dominic Price from the Species recovery trust was interesting and helped us recap some of the grasses we had previously looked at as well as learning some new ones! Having done my Masters dissertation on bats I was excited to attend the training evening for the upcoming ‘Big Bat Survey’ and am looking forward to getting back out in the field with a bat detector for the survey on the 17th July! We had a lovely visit to Southey and Gotleigh Moor SSSI with David Allen where we were lucky enough to see Green Hairstreaks, Fir Club moss and a lot of orchids including Southern Marsh, Early Marsh and Lesser Butterfly! I have never really been able to identify butterflies but am hopefully slowly getting better, this month we have seen Small Pearl Bordered fritillary at Langford Common and lots of other butterflies throughout the month at various sites including Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Large skippers, Small skippers and Ringlets. Lots more to come in July, I am especially looking forward to bat work, White-Clawed crayfish survey training and hopefully seeing some more dormice.
My photo of the month are from Southey and Gotleigh Moor; ponies are an excellent conservation tool and have helped increase the numbers of butterfly orchids on the site.
Tom, Emily and myself had a great start to our second month volunteering as Natural Futures Trainees. We spotted a Small pearl-bordered fritillary at Langford Heathfield common with the help of Dave Ayling from Butterfly Conservation. Thanks Dave!
We have also seen our first set of Dormice at The Perch SSSI. These creatures are as photogenic as they come! We are hoping to join the Somerset Mammal Group for more Dormouse checks in the coming months.
After a brief week off on a butterfly conservation holiday with the National Trust, stamping on Bracken and spotting Dark Green and High Brown Fritillaries, I returned to my training with a Grasses training course led by Dominic Price from the Species Recovery Trust. 2 days of grasses, sedges and rushes. I have learnt more about grasses than I ever thought was possible and now I will be putting it all into practice!
In the next month I’m hoping to improve my Latin botanical vocabulary and learn about some more plants. There are always more plants, creatures and habitats to learn and discover.