Thursday, 13 February 2014

Pitsford Reservoir Wildlife and Habitat update


A Pitsford Reservoir Team Meeting was chaired by the wardens Sarah and Mischa this evening, providing an opportunity of learning the results of some of the recent wildlife monitoring and habitat management processes.  Some points are summarised below:-

  • Quite significant tree damage has occurred on the reserve due to the winter storms, with several of the mature poplars in the Scaldwell Bay having collapsed;
  • Another sixty or so trees around the reserve will require remedial work for safety reasons;
  • Following an innovative design and airing at the recent BTO Conference by Dave Francis, further Treecreeper nest boxes will be erected and adopted as part of a national survey;
  • In excess of 22,000 individual moths were captured and released in the nightly moth traps during 2013.  This included 288 different species which is above the average for the site and included five new species for Pitsford;
  • On-going long-term algae survey work by Chris Carter continues to locate interesting blooms in a variety of habitats associated with open water, ponds and back-waters, and Frances Hicks has collated all the records of local Bryophytes associated with the reserve, this programme commencing in the early 1990s;
  • The monitoring of insects and similar small creatures has identified 13 species of Harvestmen, 49 species of Caddis Fly and 10 species of ant utilising the reserve;
  • A Grass Snake survey using strategically placed reptile refuges will continue, mostly in the Holcot Bay, and has produced reasonable numbers of individuals habitually using these warm-up shelters;
  • Breeding Bird Surveys have been conducted consistently since 1994 and this project is now providing medium-term data trends and an opportunity for meaningful analysis.
Much of this monitoring has been carried out by volunteers working on the reserve, with their endeavours being documented in the Annual Report.  To the future this report will concentrate on the specific activities of the previous year and master lists of species recorded etc will be maintained by the full-time wardens.  It is hoped that the Annual Report for 2013 will be published in May this year.


Neil M
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