Archive for August 8, 2014

Very little in the natural world is absolute. Take the hot weather we are experiencing in Southern England at the moment. Great for the Butterflies and Dragonflies. But it does have its drawbacks as witness my visit to the tarn yesterday. The hot weather has caused a bloom to appear on the lake.
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In its self this isnt a real problem, but given the low water level, the high water temperatures and the covering of vegetation, this causes the oxygen level in the water to go down and these anerobic conditions mark the return of our arch nemesis avian botulism. This bacteria dwells in the mud at the bottom of the lake and awaits the ideal conditions to multiply. As it multiplies it poisons the water so that the birds become sick and eventually die. It has struck again this year and so far this month, the volunteers were telling me, 16 birds have had to be removed from the Lake either dead or to be put down. Whilst I was there a RSPCA inspector came along with a very sick looking Canada Goose in his arms. Another for the casualty list. There are no easy solutions – new water pumps to aerate the water, draining the lake and mud clearance – all are very expensive. The local council who own the site cannot afford it and the Friends organisation who help improve the site havent got the money. So it seems we just go on. There are still some waterfowl left, but part of me wishes that they would leave for their own good.

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All of this was on my mind as I did this weeks Butterfly and Dragonfly survey. 2 new dragonfly species for the year (Common Darter and Migrant Hawker) and a third (Banded Demoiselle) which is the first time I have recorded it here. In addition I also recorded Garden Bumblebee here for the first time this year. All of this should have made for a happy days recording but the thought that next year we may be back to strating from scratch with our waterbird populations rather put a dampner on everything else.

Common Darter

Common Darter

Banded demoiselle (Taken at Sutcliffe Park LNR)

Banded demoiselle (Taken at Sutcliffe Park LNR)

Migrant Hawker (taken at Sutcliffe Park LNR)

Migrant Hawker (taken at Sutcliffe Park LNR)