Saturday, 2 March 2013

Spring is in the air

Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
On Wednesday I joined the work party at Heyshott escarpment. The change in the landscape this winter has been phenomenal, and should benefit the Duke of Burgundy and other butterflies, flora and fauna found on this chalk downland. Butterfly Conservation has recently published its Landscape-scale Conservation For Butterflies And Moths Report:
Under the Executive Summary, point four states: “Area and isolation of habitat patches are vital factors in ensuring species survival across a landscape. However, research suggests that because rare species are restricted to very specific habitats or niches, it is just as important to maintain high quality habitat within individual sites, as to maintain the site network”

This is exactly what we are doing at Heyshott – creating high quality habitat for the Duke and its food plants (primroses and cowslips) so that it will increase its range within its existing area and hopefully spill out to adjacent suitable south down sites. The rewards are already showing – plenty of new growth primroses by the path and quite a few on the slope we have cleared.
 Some views of the cleared slopes

Neil performing
Primrose, Primula vulgaris
I visited Arundel WWT on the way home:
Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna Autumnalis
Black-backed Radjah Shelduck, Tadorna radjah radjah
Little egret, Egretta garzetta and Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea with
Shelducks, Tadorna tadorna
Jackdaw, Corvus monedula
Mill Road:
Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea by the mill pond

Water Vole, Arvicola amphibius
Treecreeper, Carthia familiaris on the bridge

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