Wednesday, January 29, 2014

E-Piece more scrub clearing

The South Downs volunteers have been out working on the e-Piece, along with contractors, clearing scrub.  We started on the area in February with our Mega Scrub Bash and we've now managed to clear almost all the scrub from one area.  The contractors cleared a tangled mass of blackthorn along the lower slope further along earlier in the week

Telscombe Tye - volunteeers scrub clearing
The area we've been working on is mainly south facing which is great for chalk grassland wildflowers and with areas of grass bordering the cleared areas it should quickly regenerate.  Today's effort was brilliant considering the rain - they even got the bonfire going!

Telscombe Tye - area cleared of scrub
The darker patches are where the scrub has been cleared, the lighter patches the recent fire sites.  Once the area is grazed, to stop the fast growing plants like bramble, nettle and elder coming in, it reverts to grassland surprisingly quickly.  Wildflowers appeared on the area we cleared last Summer.

Telscombe Tye - cleared scrub and bonfire sites
People often wonder why we clear scrub, trees and bushes - why don't we leave it as 'woodland'.  Chalk grassland is a rare and endangered habitat which needs careful management to preserve it.

The scrub that's been cleared has probably only taken a couple of decades to spread over the areas we're now working on.  Without the constant hard work of volunteers the entire Downs would quickly turn to scrub.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2014

A particularly wet and windy weekend for this year's Big Garden Birdwatch and even fewer species than normal. I gave up on Saturday as there were so few birds around generally and had another go on Sunday when the weather was slightly better.

Finally tally was:

Blackbird x 1
House Sparrow x 1
Chaffinch x 1
Robin x 2
Blue tit x 2
Great tit x 2
Starling x 2
Wood pigeon x 2

Of course as soon as the weekend had passed - I had 5 wood pigeons and 16 starling on the ground and feeders as well as the usual garden bird species + collared doves.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Build it and they will come ...

... unless it's the RSPB Birdwatch weekend in which case all birds will beat a hasty retreat and disappear for the weekend.

My feeder has been stocked up with fatty nibbles, fat balls, peanuts and sunflower hearts yet, this year has been the fewest number of species so far.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Urban Fungi

Spotted these just by the traffic lights on London Road, near Preston Park.  Nestled under an elder, there are two different types of fungi.

Both quite large - over 30cm across.  Any ideas on either of them?