Monday, 19 May 2014

Fencing Work at Fleet Pond

A new stock fence is being installed at Fleet Pond on the Eastern side. We apologise for any disturbance caused.

It is important to replace the old fencing as it will not only look a lot neater but will hopefully keep the grazing stock in and keep wandering dogs out of this sensitive habitat of reed bed and marsh.

Whilst the fencing is being replaced the area will be temporarily open as the contractors work. Please keep dogs close to the main path and do not let them wander into the reed beds as they may disturb nesting birds.

Please do not walk into the marsh that is being re-fenced, as the water is deep in places and you could sink unexpectedly!

Thank you for your continued support, Ranger Rachel.

Baby Blue Tits!

Ranger Rachel had the opportunity to assist with some bird ringing at Fleet Pond SSSI last weekend.

Our bird ringer Martin had a successful morning ringing 25 different species in the reed beds on the edge of the pond.

This Blue Tit chick was nesting in one of the special bird boxes installed previously by ranger Louise Clewley. They were about a week old, six altogether!

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Elvetham Heath Girls!

The cows are back on Elvetham Heath to help us manage this beautiful Nature Reserve.

This year they are starting their munching on the northern side as there are lots of Birch saplings that, if left unchecked, will dominate the vegetation and out compete the specialist heathland flora. The cattle do a great job of nipping off the tops of the saplings and suppressing their growth.

This year you will see four lovely Irish Moiled cows:

  • With ear tag number 72 is Flower. She still has an udder full of milk where she had been weaning her calf. 
  • Number 96 is Geranium who is the other older cow. She is a little warty but still healthy! 
  • Number 260 is Parachute, back again this year, a little bigger and older. 
  • Number 262 is Primrose, the other smaller lady. 

Please help us keep a close eye on them as they settle in and keep all dogs under very close control. 

Thank you Vince at Elvetham for being a great volunteer 'cattle looker' for us again this year! 

Thank you! Ranger Rach. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Cattle at Fleet Pond

Today Miller's Ark delivered some fine animals full of character to Fleet Pond!

Ollie is the big old steady boy. Kipper is the younger one that follows him everywhere and is very shy.

The two Belted Galloway's are ladies called Heather and Nancy.

They will be on Wood Lane Heath for a few weeks, chomping on the scrub and Purple Moor Grass.

Please help us keep a close eye on them and keep dogs under very close control around and within Wood Lane.

Thank you!

Ranger Rach.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Dog Vomit Slime Mold!

Ranger Rachel spotted this Dog Vomit Slime Mold at Elvetham Heath.

In its growth stage this yellowish, foamy slime mold is an irregular mass that "creeps" gradually over wood mulch or other decaying material, engulfing and consuming bacteria, yeasts and fungi. It sometimes bleeds dark fluid and can look a little like dog vomit, hence its lovely name. In its spore producing stage it dries and hardens; becoming darker in colour, eventually becoming a mass of dark and dusty spores.

Creeping gradually across decaying wood, it can sometimes creep on to nearby living plants. These mysterious organisms are said to be the inspiration for the 1958 movie 'The Blob'! Stranger still, if you run water on to its spore producing stage, the water either rolls of it without moistening it or else a cloud of spores rise up like smoke, helping to spread it further.

Its not poisonous but I doubt it makes pleasant eating, although reportedly it is eaten in Mexico!

This is one of many strange but important organisms that have a crucial role in ecosystems, feasting on decaying organic materials and the microbes that inhabit them. They have an incredibly important role in breaking down the tough materials living things are made of and returning those nutrients to the soil.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Fleet Pond Bird Ringing

Bird ringer Martin Cooper and his team were at Fleet Pond SSSI on Easter Monday morning. They managed to tidy up all of the net rides and get all of the CES (constant effort site) nets up without too many problems. They caught 10 birds, of which 7 were birds that had not been ringed before.

They ringed 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Wren, 1 Chaffinch and 1 Dunnock and 3 re-traps including a Reed Warbler which has made it to sub-Saharan Africa and back again!

Great results!

The Hazeley Heath Girls!

Ranger Rachel caught the cattle on Hazeley Heath having a lie in early this morning.

Fenella is the white Irish Moiled leader.
Paula is the largest Belted Galloway
Cumbria Girl is the middle one and
Isobella is the smallest one!