Wildlife Warden March newsletter

Spring is here! The emergence of life after the long dreary winter months is what makes this my favourite time of the year. It is always uplifting to see the first celandine flowers emerge, followed closely by pollinators, such as the early bumblebee. Soon, the swallows, swifts and house martins will be returning. 

The picture at the top is a patch of wood anemone growing beside the River Lemon. A group of up to 100 flowering stems could come from a single plant! Wood anemones, along with a number of other species, including bluebells, wild garlic and primroses, are indicators of ancient woodland. You can find useful information about ancient woodland on the Woodland Trust website.

Funding
We are very fortunate to have been awarded £7,500 in funding from the Devon Environment Foundation (who awarded us £5,000 a few months ago). This means that ACT is able to contract the coordinator (Flavio) for 20 hours per week instead of 9.5 hours.

Thank you to all of our funders: Devon Environment Foundation, the Nineveh Trust, Cllr Jackie Hook’s Locality Fund, Dartmoor National Park Authority and Teign Energy Communities Community Fund.

Training sessions
Now that the covid situation is improving, we are starting to offer training, in person, to small groups of Wildlife Wardens. The first two Wildflower Identification Sessions were held in Woodland at Deer Park Farm. I (Flavio) was fortunate to attend one of these and learnt about various fascinating plants, including toothwort (Lathraea squamaria), which is a parasite of hazel and is nationally scarce.

We plan to offer training in other areas, including aquatic invertebrate ID, planning and development, species and habitat surveys and leading volunteer groups. 

Audrey has been busy writing lots of training documents, which can be found on our website Projects and training – ACT Wildlife Wardens (actionclimateteignbridge.org)

Read the full newsletter

Wildlife Warden February Newsletter

Thanks to all wardens for the hard work you have put into the scheme during these difficult times. The scheme is constantly growing and moving in the right direction. We have created a subdomain on the ACT website for the Wildlife Warden Scheme. It is still in development, but it already contains lots of useful information: 

The picture at the top is my most recent wildlife sighting – a barnacle-looking gall found on bramble. It may not be the most beautiful sighting, but I found it fascinating. I believe they were created by Diastrophus rubi, which is a small parasitoid wasp. A gall can contain up to 200 larvae, each in an individual cell.

We have been finding out a lot about seagrass (eelgrass) habitats. There are two species of seagrass (Zostera noltei and Z.marina), which provide an important habitat for a wide range of species, and help to stabilise the seabed, clean surrounding seawater and absorb vast quantities of CO2.

Unfortunately, seagrass is critically endangered. It is threatened by high nutrient levels (mainly from fertilisers and animal waste), damage from anchors and propellers, disease, and destructive fishing practices. There is anecdotal evidence that seagrass probably existed in the Teign Estuary prior to the 1990s, but it is no longer present. Seagrass in the Exe Estuary has expanded in recent years and can be found near Dawlish Warren, Exmouth and Lympstone.

Read more here