Friday, 3 June 2011

College Lake Volunteering

Today was an amazing day out at College Lake were my brother and I help with conservation work on Pitstone Fen, the heath/grassland to the east of College Lake.  We started by constructing a wire fence around the field in order to accommodate livestock that would manage the landscape.  The field was literally covered in Common Spotted Orchids.  After lunch we were privileged enough to have a walk around the grassland and wet meadow area in the trench to the east of the fen.  Here we found a greater variety and abundance of orchids including more Common Spotted Orchids, Southern Marsh Orchids, and 3 Bee Orchids (in full flower!!!).  There where fewer birds around but Willow Warblers and 1 Cuckoo were calling close by.  Other flowers that we came across include Marsh Helleborine and Twayblade.  My best find of the day was a fantastic Hawk moth, an amazing Eyed Hawk Moth, which was crouching in the middle of the path and was luckily prevented from being trodden on, unfortunately I hadn't brought my camera.  The breeding Little Ringed Plover pair have recently abandoned their nest, presumably due to the eggs being infertile which haven't hatched in the 4 week period that it usually takes, as a result they have begun making a new scrape in the visitor centre of the gravel spit in front of the octagon hide.  1 Lapwing chick was seen (the lack of chicks is presumed to be due to the shortness of the grass which has allowed most of the chicks to be predated).  Redshanks are still on the marsh in good numbers and 1 Hobby also flew onto the reserve from the west.

 Common Spotted Orchid along the path leading to the octagon hide
 Bee Orchid in flower on the left of the path leading to the octagon hide from the centre

Little Ringed Plover

 LRP pair making a new scrape


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