South Downs National Park Volunteers


IMG_8820 SDNC Volunteers Pheasant Field

A huge thank-you to Phillippa Morrison-Price (right) and her band of South Downs National Park volunteers for braving the heat of the meadow to attack creeping thistle on Thursday. You’ve really made a difference. @Ranger_sdnpa

We’ve also been cutting out a very large amount of hogweed from the meadow this week. Hogweed has had a very good year this year, possibly due to the wet spring. While it is not as poisonous as its giant cousin, hogweed can still cause quite serious skin problems if handled without gloves. We advise members of the public not to touch it.

Bioblitz – The Final Tally

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The HKD Bioblitz at Pheasant Field was a great way of involving people and introducing children to wildlife and conservation. And great fun for the nearly 70 people who attended. The final product of a bioblitz can sound a bit dull by comparison. It is a simple list of species found in a particular place and time. But it is a very valuable resource for wildlife recorders, ecologists and for anyone involved in conservation. Lists like these help us to understand what we are trying to conserve, enable us to track changes and tell us whether what we are doing is making a difference. The list from the HKD bioblitz in Pheasant Field was sent to us this week and can be downloaded here: HKD bioblitz 2016

By any standards it is a good outcome. Its two hundred species includes many that we have not identified before including birds such as Yellowhammer, not recorded here since 1992, as well as Red-Legged Partridge, Linnet and Dunnock, all new to us. We knew that there would be a good tally of moths after we sat for a while at the moth trap as Laurie and Jake assessed them, heroically at nearly midnight, enduring a cloud of flying ants. Finding thirty-two species of moth in a single evening is an excellent result and reminds us all that so much of the life of Pheasant Field is unseen. Some have never been recorded here before such as the Swallow-Tail and the enigmatic sounding Ghost Moth.

Other species formerly unrecorded here include grasses such as Velvet Bent and insects such as the Great Green Bush Cricket. But most importantly for us, we have formal identification of bats. All bats are protected, but some of them, like the Noctule, are woodland-roosting species whose habitat we would like to understand more about so that we can better preserve it.

Good too to record the presence of invertebrates and especially fish (see photo) in the Lag Stream, this is an excellent sign for the health of the stream and very encouraging. All in all an inspiring effort from all involved.