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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A sunny day in March!

March has been a rather mixed month weatherwise, ending with a very windy day!
However, there were some nice sunny days too and on one last week I walked along Hollands wash Drove and back through Combe Wood and had some lovely sights such as this Great spotted woodpecker, which was constantly drumming and looking very striking set against a tree with its pink buds about to burst open.

It was also nice to see the first of the seasons' Cowslips unfurling in SSW and here the Chiff chaffs calling to announce their arrival from their wintering spots in Africa.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Underway Meade Update 1 -Background

Underway Meade is a small local wildlife site in the South Somerset village of Combe St. Nicholas that has been owned and managed by Combe St. Nicholas Parochial Trust since 1998.

Underway Meade location map

It is just under four acres in size, enclosed by a hedge and has a grass meadow, a woodland area and a stream running into a pond.

A new committee was appointed in May 2014, since when, work has continued afresh on improving the site as an amenity for both wildlife and the local community.

Working party sessions of volunteers usually take place on a Saturday morning from 10 am, weather permitting.

A wide range of tasks have been undertaken in the last six months, including: clearing the stream and pond of false watercress, nettles and brambles; unblocking the pond inlet pipes; clearing and deepening the overflow ditch alongside the hedge bordering the road; replacing fence posts; replacing the second bridge over the stream; strimming and treating the existing pathway,repairing the pond edge,  sowing a patch of wildflower mix  to see what will grow in the soil, attaching wire netting to the pond bridge to provide a non-slip surface for safety purposes, hedgelaying along the boundary near the new bridge  for the benefit of birds and other wildlife, thinning out some silver birches in the woodland to allow wildflowers more light to flower,

More news about the Meade can be seen in the parish Cloverleaf Magazine and in future posts on this blog.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Frogs on the Move

Have you noticed any squashed frogs on the road recently? They hibernate in the winter, males often at the bottom of ponds in the mud and females in a cosy muddy ditch. Once the weather warms up in the spring they make their way back to the pond and this when they risk getting squashed by traffic as they make their way across roads to find a suitable pond in which to meet a mate and lay eggs,

Frog on migration  back to a pond or water source
Last night, as I walked home via Underway, I saw a frog poised above a drain cover. After a day of rain the water was rushing through the culvert below and I imagine the frog must have thought it was a good place to seek water. 

Then today, whilst in Underway Meade, I saw two lots of frog spawn in the pond. This is a good sign as frogs have been declining in recent years, with lack of habitat and use of pesticides all taking their toll.

In case you wondered, the difference between frog and toad spawn is that frogs lay clumps of eggs in a jelly like mass and toads lay strings of eggs.

Frog spawn in Underway Meade pond

Let's hope we see some tadpoles develop in due course!