Do you know about our Life Active Blanket Bog Project here at Lake Vyrnwy?
We have special team working on our high moors conserving and restoring our blanket bogs.
So why are bogs important? Not only do they create an environment for many specialist plants, insects and birds but they are also a very important resource for combating climate change. The bog is a huge carbon store that needs to remain locked away. By protecting the bog, we can keep this carbon on the moor where it belongs, rather than allow it to be washed away or released into the atmosphere.
In the late 1940’s and 50’s many ditches or grips were dug on the bog in an attempt to drain these boggy areas for grazing livestock. This resulted in the peat drying out and eroding, lowering the water table.
Over the last 4 years, our team has been blocking these grips, thus retaining more water on the moor and facilitating the regeneration of the peat. This also improves water quality, which is important to the water company allowing it to supply good drinking water to Liverpool and district.
During the winter months “Aliens” have been seen on the moors - more about them in a later edition!
All is well with the peregrines. We watched a changeover yesterday in
mid-afternoon, which was the first real action all day and gave some
visitors a really good view of the off-duty bird sitting nearby.
The nesting site is concealed behind a hedge of heather on a high ledge,
so most sightings are only glimpses of tail and wingtips as the
incubating parent shifts on the eggs. There will be more to see soon,
when the eggs hatch and the parents start to bring in food items to the
chicks on the ledge. Estimates of the hatching date vary, but a few days
either side of 31st May seems most likely. Not long now!
Otherwise, despite the inactivity, peregrine watching has its moments.
The siskins have found our feeder, which is some consolation for
visiting photographers, and there is a fat vole that rushes out and
chases them away from the spillage every few minutes. Our visitors are
all lovely people - no exceptions yet - including hotel guests,
holidaymakers, round-the-lake cyclists, some very well-behaved
schoolchildren from Shrewsbury, a celebrity tv commentator's mother, and
a party of bikers from Northwich yesterday who mostly didn't get to see
the peregrines except for one lady who did, which almost caused a divorce!
We think - we may be wrong, but we don't think so - we think, we are
fairly certain, the peregrines have hatched their first chick.
This morning (Tuesday, 25th) the activity was intense up there on the
ledge, with both parent birds in attendance most of the morning, and,
thrillingly, around mid-morning, the male bird arrived carrying food -
which, after flying by a couple of times, it deposited on the ledge.
Though we couldn't identify the prey item, we were delighted, because
that is the first time we have seen food being brought to the nesting
ledge. Peregrines have good reasons to keep the ledge clean while they
have eggs - for instance, not attracting carrion eaters, and not fouling
the eggs or the sitting parent while incubation is in progress - so food
being brought in is a reliable sign of a hatchling to be fed.
It has to be said, our peregrines are not the easiest to see, certainly
compared with, say, the cathedral birds at Derby, or the Cardiff City
Hall family, or even those on Wrexham police station. However, there are
compensations. Our bird list this month from the Lakeside Hide (often
written off by some as a "waste of time") has included most of the local
raptors - osprey, red kite, goshawk, buzzard, and yesterday a
magnificent male hen harrier soaring over the cliff - and several
specialities that people do travel to see (and hear), such as pied
flycatcher, wood warbler, and redstart. Even siskins are a thrill to
visitors who don't have them at home. When we put up a feeder outside
the hide in April, it took them about a fortnight to find it. Now we can
guarantee really close, confiding and photographable siskins any time
you care to come.
So come and make a Date With Nature in the Lakeside Hide. The next 3-4
weeks should be really special!