Rhody and a raft on the path

Early yesterday morning I carried out a breeding birds survey and while at the southern end of Ivy lake I was please to notice how great the habitat was looking. The volunteers removed willow and birch from this area during the winter and then Adam strimmed back bramble, the result has been a big increase in the grassland plants particularly ox-eye daisies, forget-me-nots, common vetch, bugle and even some heather.

P1000752

Grassland with flowers at the southern end of Ivy lake

P1000753

Young heather

Later in the morning we headed down the road from Blashford into the New Forest to Linwood Nature Reserve, where we dug out rhododendron stumps with mattocks and spades. Some of the plants were small and came out easily others put up more of a struggle but we still removed a great number. We also weeded out non-native conifer saplings, mainly Douglas fir,  Norway spruce and western red cedars.

P1000763

Volunteers mattocking out Rhododendrons

Some of the stumps were so big and heavy it took several of us to move them using corrugated metal sheet.

P1000759

Vols carrying large rhododendron stump out of Linwood

The plan is to leave the stumps and saplings on the corrugated sheets to prevent them re-rooting, and then put them on a bonfire in the autumn. Thank you to the volunteers who as usual did a great job.

P1000760

The team with the haul of rhody and conifers (I’m not sure what is happening to Bob’s face).

Yesterday afternoon I came across a raft spider on the path near Goosander hide, a brilliant creature I had been hoping to find at Blashford lakes for a while.. Raft spiders are the largest spider in Britain by weight and body size but not leg span as a few species have longer legs. They hunt by running on the surface of water, and can submerge to hide from any would be predators.There is a few ponds in this area which have almost dried out so I suspect this spider was on the move to find new habitat. It was quite a large individual around 20 millimetres long in length, although they can get slightly large than this. The hairs on it’s thorax and abdomen give it a really smart velvety look.

P1000787

Raft spider

P1000790

Raft spider from above

Earlier in the week, we had a phone call saying there was another snake in Tern hide! This time it was a grass snake hiding in a corner, which I released on the bank near the hide. Thanks to David Cuddon for sending us this photo.

GRASS-SNAKE

Grass snake in Tern Hide before being released – David Cuddon

David also emailed us this nice photo of a Jay on Ivy lake and a shot of the lapwing chick at Tern hide, which looks bigger and more lapwing like by the day.

Jay

Jay, Ivy lake by David Cuddon

Lapwing Chick

Lapwing chick, Tern Hide by David Cuddon

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Rhody and a raft on the path

  1. Hi Ed, Couldn’t the third photo be titled ‘Young Heather’ as well ? ! Interesting report, as always. Paul

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s