There will be no work morning at the start of January, so the next meeting will be on Saturday 3rd February - at 10am on Pound Lane outside the schools, ending around 12 noon.

If there is any doubt about the weather you may want to phone us before coming. We provide all of the tools and the refreshments.

December 2017

The usual pre-Christmas work day was undertaken, complete with - un-burnt - mince pies, involving clearance of sedge and a bonfire. The insect hotel near the woodland was also built up.

We now have our new home for Barn Owls/Kestrels put up on the reserve. Conservation contractors called "Green Mantle" brought the box, the labour and the tools. Trevor Riddle from YACWAG and 6/7 volunteers from Newt also came to assist and the whole job took about 3 hours. We are very pleased with the results and hope that the birds will oblige by moving in promptly!


While we were working Trevor heard a Water Rail in the carr. We all heard it again later, but these birds are rarely seen so we had to make do with knowing that one is there.

Dave Gray went down to the reserve the next day - and someone is already checking out the new digs!


November 2017

We have had quite an interesting few months, mostly with insects, but a Roe deer was also seen racing across the fields to the north of the reserve last Saturday which was exciting for the few of us who were on the boardwalk at the time.

At the October workday, the weather was drizzly and mild, as 16 volunteers, including a family of five new helpers, sets about the job of laying the boundary hedge which was planted at the time we first took over the reserve. After some basic instruction from Ian, remarkable progress is made as everyone joins in chopping, raking and clearing and the job is three quarters done by the time we decide to abandon for the day - everyone is pretty soggy! The end result is a very neat looking hedge which can be further tidied up over the winter as the foliage dies back.

In early October, the Red Admirals are having a spectacular showing this year and will stay around whilst there are any sunny days to be had. Another of our resident butterflies – the Comma is also out in the very sheltered area at the end of the boardwalk. Commas will usually have a second brood in September and then hibernate.

Records from Butterfly Conservation states that 2017 has seen a dramatic rise in some butterfly species, with the Red Admiral numbers increasing by 75%. The Big Butterfly Count also reveals that the most commonly seen species, after the Red Admiral, were the Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown. The Comma, Common Blue and Small Copper all did better this year thanks to the warm early summer months. Generally though, numbers continue to decline. All of these species have been recorded at MS this year.

For the November workday, the weather has settled into a much more seasonal pattern of cold mornings and nights and after a damp start to our workday, the skies clear and it turns out dry and breezy. A record turnout of 20 volunteers get stuck in to the usual tasks of clearing the boardwalk and the carr outflow. Those keen on scything make short work of the long grass at the bottom of the Land Yeo embankment. This clearing work produces some interesting finds. Ian is sharp-eyed for anything that moves and we are all fascinated by this tiny Newt, which judging by the webbed hind feet is the Palmate Newt (Triturus helvetica) which is very similar to the Smooth Newt (Trituris vulgaris) apart from an unspotted throat on the Palmate. We have 3 species of newts in Great Britain and the smaller two do not need to live in water and will happily survive in any damp patches of ground. The rarest, the Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) needs larger, weedy ponds, so we can hope that they may arrive in ours one day.

Ian’s second find is the fearsomely named “Devil’s coach-Horse” (Staphylinus olens). This is a long black beetle which can be very aggressive if challenged. It flicks up its rear end, scorpion like, and opens its jaws. It shelters under logs and stones in the day and emerges at night to feed on other invertebrates.

September 2017

The Coronation Meadow plaque, which was at Netcott’s Meadow until its recent sale into private hands, has been attached to the gate into our meadow. Avon Wildlife Trust are no longer involved with Netcott’s and we do not expect that it will be managed as a wild flower meadow into the future. It is therefore very fortuitous that, through the Coronation Meadows Project, the seed bank could be saved, in part, at Moorend Spout.

In late August, Ian and Tim, with the help of four volunteers, installed a series of steps up the embankment to the Land Yeo, making it safer and easier for walkers to get to the bridge over the river.

A hay cut was taken in late August by a local farmer and then dried and collected a few days later in early September.

June 2017

Hilary reports: we do have Orchids growing near the first pond. I have been down today and counted at least seven plants. This is a spectacular success for our meadow and completely justifies the Coronation Meadows project, especially as it now seems Netcott's meadow is in imminent danger of being lost to housing development. The Birdsfoot trefoil is also growing very widely and strongly, which will be of great benefit to the Common Blue butterfly. All these plants must have come about through the plug planting scheme or been imported with the hay from Netcott's. The Orchids in Netcott's are intensely hybridised between the Common Spotted and the Southern Marsh Orchids, so it is difficult tell which ones we have. As a general rule, if the plant has heavily spotted leaves and a vigorous flower spike it will probably be the Common Spotted Orchid (see photo below); plants with no spots at all on the leaves will be the Southern Marsh Orchid and those with sparsely spotted leaves will be anything in between! There is also huge variation in intensity of colour with both types, so all very confusing.

Hilary also observed at least two Marbled White butterflies, a first for Moorend Spout. Despite its name, it belongs to the family of "Browns" but has a much shorter flight period - late June to mid August.

 

April 2017

There was good turnout of 15 volunteers for the work morning. The main task was to clear the grasses and reeds which swamp the hedgerow trees on the eastern boundary if not cut back. The end result is a huge improvements. We find a number of nests which we initially thought might be from harvest mice, but later determined to be uncompleted bird nests.

Areas were cleared around the ponds in order to plant seeds - some Ragged Robbin (Lychnis flos-cuculi)and some Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus). Some of the fringed water-lily was also moved from the first pond to the second (barer) ponds.

More wildlife was found around the pond - masses of little black caterpillars feeding on the Water Forget-me-not (Myosotis) at the water’s edge, thought to be the young of the Mullein Moth (Cucullia verbasci) which are voracious little feeders and will strip plants bare. They can emerge as early as April in some years and prefer low growing vegetation.

The works have been completed on the Land Yeo embankment. The new wall is made up of sandbags containing a sand and cement mixture. Already there are water weeds attaching to these below the waterline.

March 2017

The Environment Agency have been working on the river bank on the Land Yeo, to make repairs to the section which was breaking away.

 

 

   
   

We continued clearing the sedge around one of the carr outflows, as well as installing some new signs and birdboxes. Hilary has produced a report from the March workday here.

February 2017

The first work morning of the year involved further clearance of the sedge and bramble near to the boardwalk, including a fire, although this took much encouragement due to the wet plant matter.

We have been informed that the Environment Agency hope to undertake maintenance works to the Land Yeo embankment later in the season, which will hopefully include repairs to the section of slipped river bank.

 

 







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