30 Days Wild – week 1

Like Bob, I am taking part in 30 days wild, I’m doing a tweet a day on the HIWWT Conservation profile. If you’re a twitter user why not follow us to see all the different things happening across the reserves. I also plan to do a weekly summary as a blog each week.

So, after 7 days of 30 days wild, what have I seenĀ and done so far?

Day 1: A visit from The Royal Wildlife Trusts, plus HIWWT CEO Debbie Tann and Chairman David Jordan to Fishlake Meadows. We took a gentle stroll around the reserve and enjoyed lots of wildlife, the main thing that caught my eye were the array of grasses and how beautiful they looked in flower. Grasses are often overlooked and forgotten about and these looked so lovely, I was happy to be able to highlight them.

Day 2: I was away in Nottingham over the weekend, but had seen so many things over the few days before I tweeted about the wonderful southern marsh orchids in flower in Ashley Meadow at Fishlake Meadows. Despite the sward height getting higher and higher, the orchids are hanging on well, in fact the height of the grasses is pushing the orchids to get very tall! The grazing that will take place in Ashley Meadow will help to reduce the sward height and give the orchids a bit more breathing space.

Southern marsh orchid - Ashley Meadow

Southern marsh orchid – Ashley Meadow

Day 3: Still away, but a good time to use this sighting of a drinker moth caterpillar. Named so because the caterpillars like to drink drops of dew. Grasses and reeds form the caterpillars diet, which explains why it was found in the grassy edges of the barge canal path.

Drinker moth caterpillar

Drinker moth caterpillar – Fishlake Meadows

Day 4: I arrived back in Basingstoke and was very pleased to see that the grassy verge opposite my house had been mown, but the patch of poppies had been left untouched. This is a simple way for local authorities to keep things tidy for those that want tidiness, but maintain a great source of pollen. In fact I am quite envious of this patch as I had poppy in my front garden last summer and in spite of much turning of the soil, haven’t managed to get it to grow again this summer.

Poppies left in basingstoke

Poppies in Basingstoke

Day 5: Involved much wandering through the undergrowth with the Tuesday Blashford Lakes volunteers looking for Himalayan balsam and pink purslane to pull. In between the pulling I saw this lovely red-eyed damselfly who behaved very nicely for me and let me take its photo. It probably helped that it was quite early in the day and quite cool.


Red eyed damselfly blashford

red-eyed damselfly – Blashford Lakes

Day 6: Was a work party at Fishlake Meadows, cutting back vegetation along the barge canal path. 12 volunteers came along to help cut back nettles, brambles and branches to keep the path open. Vegetation has been growing rapidly this year and has been quite a challenge to keep up with. It was a very warm day, which made for very hard work when not in the shady areas, a big thank you to all the volunteers.

Fishlake volunteers cutting path back

Fishlake Meadows volunteers cutting vegetation back from the path.

Day 7: The start of training volunteers in butterfly, dragonfly and damselfly identification and how to carry out transects. The weather wasn’t on our side so I focused on the methodology of the transects. This year I will focus on deciding where different sections of the transect will be, with a view to a transect being done each week of the season next year. Despite the weather we saw several damselflies and demoiselles, including this male banded demoiselle.

Banded demoiselle

Male banded demoiselle – Fishlake Meadows

Next week I will continue to do a tweet a day, reporting on whatever I come across. In the diary are walks, flower surveys, volunteers and more butterfly and dragonfly transect training.


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