Don’t Fence Me In

Another day working with the volunteers at Swanwick, although I did not get much work done myself as I spent the middle part of the day looking at dragonfly sites with a researcher who has been studying them on the reserve for some time. The volunteers were mostly working to remove some sections of redundant fencing in a couple of places on the reserve, although we started with an hour or so of digging out scattered cherry laurel seedlings. One of the legacies of “restored” sites is the amount of fencing used to protect planted trees, which does not get removed once the trees have grown. At Swanwick there are also various other sections of fence that I’m sure once had a purpose, but which are now just clutter.

fence for clearance

The fence above was a several layered affair with post and rail, chestnut paling and chain link and all grown over with ivy and brambles. It will take sometime to clear it away but we made a good start, above is how it looked before we started and below with much of it cleared.

fence being cleared

Swanwick has a good range of dragonflies and damselflies and the many ponds each have their own character and particular features. Walking the site with someone who has spent significant time studying them here allowed me to be shown the key areas for different species and look at possible areas for management work to enhance the habitat.

Centre Lake at Swanwick.

The Centre Lake has many good features for dragonflies, trees, sunny shorelines and lots of emergent vegetation. It does have some less desirable features as well.

fish in Centre Lake, Swanwick

The pond has lots of small carp and, as you can see in this picture at least one domestic pond fish. These will eat larvae and in large numbers can have a large impact upon the ecosystem. This is brought home by the relatively large numbers of dragonflies found to emerge from the small dipping pond beside the lake from which fish are excluded.

dipping pond, Swanwick

Today was the first time I have been out with the volunteers on which I have not at least got rained on if not actually soaked, in fact today was so sunny, if not warm, that there were even dragonflies out and about.

common darter head close-up

There was also another job going on at Swanwick today, the bridge destroyed by a falling tree some time ago was being replaced, with luck it should be in use by the end of the week with any luck.

bridge construction at Swanwick

I will be at Farlington tomorrow, I wonder if I can stay dry two days running?







One thought on “Don’t Fence Me In

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