Monster Balsam & Returning waders

In the summer months our invasive weed control takes up the majority of our time. The biggest percentage is spent on controlling Creeping and Spear Thistle. These can have dramatic effects on our grasslands and out compete some of the more sensitive species. Another big problem is Himalayan balsam and ragwort at our Hook heath reserve. H.Balsam is mainly spread through water courses and as the stream that runs through the bottom of Hookheath floods periodically, the Balsam has done particularly well here.

Our tasks for the last week or so has been to get stuck into pulling the balsam before it has time to seed. We found some dense sections with some absolute monsters!

Monster Himalayan balsam !

Monster Himalayan balsam !

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

Else where on the reserves its been business as usual – plenty of cattle moves and thistle control. In the coming weeks we will shift our emphasise from thistle cutting to grass and reed trimming in readiness for the returning waterfowl.

As typical at the end of the summer everything is looking rather dry. The Deeps, at Farlington, in particular is looking rather low. With seasonally low amounts of rainfall and high amount of gusty winds, The Deeps water level has only become lower and lower. As this area is only fed by rain water, we will have to wait for some precipitation for a refill and thus refresh the main marsh.

Low water on The Deeps

Low water on The Deeps

Farlington Bird News: Busy week last week as lots of returning waders have started to appear;  Green and Common sandpiper, Greenshank, Knot, Redshank, Black-tailed godwit and a handful of Grey plover all present.  Most notable area has been in the area of the Stream, the Lake or on the western side of Langstone harbour. Wheatear and Whinchat have also been spotted over the weekend along with Tree pipit, Marsh harrier and amazingly a Short-eared Owl in the Point field! Steve and I also spotted two Kingfisher on the stream and lake Friday last week.

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