Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Chocka Block Feb!

February has absolutely flown by here at Sandscale and the reason is because we've packed so much in. The biggest job on this month was the maintenance on the car park. Not only have we had contractors in to resurface it, but we have cut down the over grown sycamore coppice and shown the bracken the brushcutter. Our regular conservation volunteers were a great help in this as they were patient enough to control traffic as the trees came down, and got down to some hard core bracken raking and burning after we had finished cutting it.

We have been participating with Barrow's Wildside Project, an Access to Nature Partnership with Natural England, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Barrow Borough Council. This month it involved running a weekend volunteer day repairing the revetments in the stream, clearing vegetation from the natterjack scrapes and encroaching grass on the boardwalks.

We had a great day and much more was achieved than we expected to be done on the one day. The volunteers worked like machines and certainly earned themselves their tea and biscuits! Thank you.

Today has been a day a bit out of the norm, as we have been celebrating the importance of volunteering and using this extra day the leap year has given us, by volunteering ourselves as part of the National Trust 'Local Leap' initative. We spent the morning at Barrow's Marsh Street Arches and Community Garden known as Green Heart Den. The Community Interest Company has developed a derelict area into a beautiful urban green space which is being used by local people to learn new skills and develop old ones, as well as local school children to learn about nature and the outdoor environment, or a space to relax in and enjoy.

We laid down some new top soil around the boundary of the plot and planted wild flower seeds. We also moved some of this improved top soil from its current position on a site adjacent to the existing garden ahead of new developments taking place for their project.

Wildlife this month

Throughout the year we collate bird records for the BTO Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). February has picked up the Bar tailed godwit and the Golden plover, two species that are not usually recorded on survey day. Pintail are also regularly spotted in the estuary.

The 28th Feb was a good day for firsts as the first Dune pansy was seen out in flower and also our first sighting of frog spawn and turned over pond weed suggesting that newts have been laying too.