Monday, 28 November 2016

Seabirds and dormice

Phew! A hectic couple of weeks at work and at the weekends, with Christmas shopping now underway, so I'm having to get my 'wild' fixes where I can!

This week I was lucky enough to have a meeting at North Solent NNR, down on the New Forest coast. The meeting itself was held in the beautiful ancient barn on the Beaulieu Estate, but we did manage a quick foray into the blustery sunshine to do a spot of birdwatching. I'm no 'twitcher' but it was nice to see a variety from the hides and comfort of the warm car at Needs Ore Point - wigeon, a marsh harrier overhead, brent geese gliding by, a little egret flying in front of us, oystercatchers foraging, and curlew and lapwing calling from the marshes. Very atmospheric.

The next day our team meeting was dormouse-themed - their life cycle, habitat management, and mitigation when their habitat is disturbed. We were shown a piece of beech plantation woodland that you wouldn't think would support this protected species at all - however, from looking at the old maps, it was clear it was once pockets of ancient woodland and chalk grassland, with a mediaeval road still connecting one side of the woodland, and harbouring the highest density of nesting dormice. Fascinating.

This weekend I'll by manning a stall on the Salisbury Christmas Market, following on from the weekend just gone, so won't be able to get out into the countryside for a bit. This gives me a bit of time to ponder where I must go next!

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