Hello, Adam here – Hope Becky is having a fab holiday in the sun! It certainly has been very arid here at Mersehead, in fact yesterday Jude my housemate found a sundried toad on the beach – thank goodness not a natterjack, but still not very pleasant for it (although interesting to us!). The sun gave quite a kick start to the summer and finally the Hawthorn is in bloom and the damsel/dragonflies are hovering about. The rain of the last few days has rehydrated a lot of the wilting garden plants and hopefully improved the soil conditions enough for Eric to sow the grass seed in some of the larger fields.
Those hares were really laying it in to each other, very sturdy animals.... well, I should probably get back to finishing my college work – all going well I will have an HNC in Countryside Management by the end of next week! Then onto the job applications...
Hope everyone is having a fab summer, whatever the weather!
20th May 2012
Hello, Adam here
Hope you didn’t miss Ben on Countryfile with his amphibious brethren – it’ll be on i-player for 2 weeks if you missed it – quality stuff.
Well the last two weeks have been a full on training experience. First was the incredibly valuable but gruesome in places First Aid at Work course with the British Red Cross. With a bit of grit I learned about all the horrendous things that can happen to people and what to do to preserve their life. Hopefully won’t have to use that very much, but good to know. Then Becky and I spent 3 days at a Working with Volunteers training course in the idyllic setting of Netherurd near West Linton. Now this I hopefully will put into practice! Great to see just how many people do voluntary work – it’s the nation’s 2nd most favourite past time, the first being DANCING! 90% of those that volunteered for the RSPB would recommend it to a friend... I recommend it to anyone reading!!!
With all this time offsite I haven’t had much time for spotting stuff at Mersehead, but last few days have been quite good:
Also got chance to explore the local area more – great walk from Rockliffe through Kippford towards Dalbeattie. And it’s not often you get to see an amourous pair of newly reunited Ospreys preening on their platform nest – thanks to Pam at Threave Castle with a scope trained on just the right spot.
Just a quick blog to remind you all to watch Countryfile at 6.25pm tomorrow (Sunday 20th May) on BBC 1. The programme is coming from Dumfries and Galloway and features a section from Mersehead where Ben talks to Ellie Harrison about our resident Natterjacks! There is also a bit from Hannah over at the Mull of Galloway and whilst in the area they visited Eskrigg nature reserve near Lockerbie!
In other news we are getting great sightings of some of our summer migrants at the moment including Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Swallow and Sand Martin. Ben also saw 3 male Reed Warbler from the Meida Hide yesterday morning, obviously setting up territories! Visitors had reported seeing 2 otter and 2 badger from the Meida Hide too and yesterday a Little Egret was seen behind the Visitor Centre - so plenty about!
Also a reminder about our 2 guided walks that are coming up over the next couple of weeks, for all of you that see Countryfile on Sunday and want to learn more about our Natterjacks, Ben will be leading a walk next Sunday (27th May) - a rare opportunity to get to the enclosures and learn more about these amazing amphibians! The walk runs 8-10pm. The next day our intern Adam will be leading a guided walk to look for our resident Lapwing and find out how we manage the reserve to help these endangered birds! This walk is on 28th May 10.30-12pm. Both walks are free - donations welcome, but booking for both is essential. To join us on these walks please call 01387 780579 to book or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy Countryfile!!!! This Sunday 6.25pm BBC 1!
Glad to report that despite absolutely horrendous weather yesterday all at Mersehead have survived pretty much unscathed although some of oour paths are a little water logged and muddy! We even had 5 intrepid visitors who braved gale force winds and torrential rain to visit us yesterday! Four of them were from Norfolk - they obviously breed them tough down there :)
Today couldn't have been more different apart from a quick rain shower at lunchtime the summer has made a tentative return with this evening bringing sunshine and calmer weather. I decided to venture out for a walk around the Coastal Trail after work and was glad I'd made the effort with fantastic views of Meadow Pipit and Wheatear on the merse as well as the delightful sound of the skylarks! I was even lucky enough to watch 2 hare chasing each other in one of the fields on the way back down Rainbow Lane. Then one of the highlights of my walk - the distinctive "peewit" as a Lapwing tumbled out of the sky performing its elaborate aerial display.
The erratic sound of a Sedge Warbler in the hedgerow and the bright white glint of 2 Shelduck feeding in the water gathered behind the Visitor centre finished off what was a lovely evening stroll.
We had a fantastic evening with BBC countryfile doing a piece on our natterjack toads. The evening went really well and the team were a really nice bunch. We managed to get them some fantastic footage of the toads and the little fellas put on a great performance.
The piece will be going out on Countryfile on Sunday 20th May and will be a really nice taster for people who would be interested in coming along on my guided natterjack walk on the following Sunday (27th). All details of the walk are on the Mersehead reserve website. Here is a photo of myself and Adam looking completely start-struck with Ellie Harrison!