Friday, 26 October 2012

My first visit to the north east of the county! Rosenannon Downs (26th October)

Once again I was out with my fellow Environmental Students surveying the vegetation cover at Rosenannon Downs, a SSSI.  With our heads down, IDing the plants and measuring vegetation height for nearly all of our visit it was no surprise the only noteworthy bird I saw were 2 Ravens Corvus corax and a flock of 20+ probable Golden Plover in the distance.  The reason for our monitoring seems to be related to the poor state of the environment as the lack of grazing and appropriate swaling has resulted in undesirable dominant species such as purple moor-grass from proliferating and smothering the variety of other species that the diversity of life depends on.  The Wildlife Trust hope to recreate a different habitat that could host an array of plant species and rarer breeding birds such as Hen Harrier, Skylark and other classic heathland specialists.  With the data we collected, the managers hope to compare present with future results to compare the species diversity and the resultant impacts for the ecosystem to measure the changes that human management on the downs has brought about.  With my rant on about conservation over, a member from the Wildlife Trust kindly pointed out Devil's-bit Scabious and Bog Asphodel to me.  Two other birders on site remained later until dusk looking for Hen Harrier which had been reported only last night but I wasn't able to hang around to see the turn out as we were already on the minibus heading back to campus.

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