Peregrines – whilst two chicks fledged the nest this year, one very soon went missing and was assumed to have perished. The remaining chick grew well and can still be seen and heard around the reserve
The Dexter Cattle are now back – 3 cows with their older calves this year. The cattle grazing is an essential part of the management of the reserve for the benefit of the flowers, butterflies and other wildlife. They can react defensively to dogs so please keep dogs under control and avoid close proximity.
Volunteer work over the summer, where Covid restrictions allowed, focussed on fence repairs. As I write this we are in a second lockdown and have had to suspend volunteering again. Hopefully we will be able to carry out the annual coppicing and other habitat work before the Spring
I am very glad that people can enjoy the views, landscape and wildlife of this lovely reserve during these continuing challenging times.
Photo: Mark Sissons
Spring is beginning to force its way through now, despite the continuing wet and windy weather. Primroses, Lesser Celandines and Violets are all coming into flower. The 5 species of butterfly that over-winter as adults have all been seen flying – Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral and Comma. The numbers of Commas around reflects what a good season they had towards the end of last year and a high survival rate over a mild winter.
The Peregrines have become quite active with the warmer days and can be seen and heard regularly above the rock faces.
Thank you very much to all our hard-working volunteers for a very productive season of habitat management in the open grassland and woodland coppice areas. We look forward to seeing the fruits of this in the blooming of flowers and activities of insects.
The rarest of our eight species of orchid, the Autumn Lady’s-tresses, has been found again on the English side of the reserve. This species had not been seen for a few years (except on the Welsh side) but with changes made to the bolted climbing routes and the change in the grazing regime it has appeared again.
The cattle grazing, whilst not popular with everyone, has been very successful in helping to maintain the open habitats on the reserve for which it is nationally important. Volunteer work to clear the scrub the cattle couldn’t eat is continuing, as is the annual coppicing in the woodland between the inclines. If you are interested in helping with this work please contact me.