Somerset Wildlife Trust

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July: The Journey Begins

 5th Aug 2016

Hello, I am Adam, one of the new Wildlife Trainees, and I will be carrying out practical conservation at reserves in the East Mendip area– welcome to my first blog post! My first month has flown by, and has been extremely eventful, and very exciting. In a short space of time I have experienced so much, from planning and team building to practical conservation and surveying.

From the word go I was thrown straight in to the world of practical conservation, starting with  Ragwort pulling at our Yoxter reserve and thistle topping at Withial Combe – hard graft when it’s hot and humid, but ultimately very satisfying.

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The highlight of the traineeship so far has been the placement week on Brown Sea Island, which was joined by trainees from neighbouring counties who I was looking forward to meeting. To get to know each other we had some fun doing team building exercises and Forest school games.

Having visited Brown Sea Island before to see the Red Squirrels, I was keen to experience more of the wildlife on offer, and straight away the wildlife didn’t disappoint! On our first evening we listened to Pipistrelle Bats – a new experience for me, and I was surprised by how noisy they can be! Throughout the week I also caught sight and identified many different species of birds, glow worms, and plenty of moths – 36 different species in fact.

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After returning from a week away it was time to get down to some planning, so I went out and about to discover the reserves and discuss new ways to manage them with my colleagues - along the way we came across an incredible variety of wild flowers such as Betony, Yellow Rattle and Birdsfoot. Then, without delay plans were put into action at the reserves and I got involved in brush cutting the steps at Black Rock (part of the Cheddar Complex), and pulling out Ragwort in Ubley Warren and Draycott Sleights.

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The rest of the month consisted of more vital Ragwort pulling, digging out drainage pipes and brush cutting thistles and nettles across reserves, while working I was delighted to catch a glimpse of Greater Horseshoe Bat at our Harridge Woods reserve. I also got the chance to meet the Trust’s volunteers for the Mendip area, which I really enjoyed, particularly as I used to be a volunteer for the Trust myself.  The month came to an end with a Domouse survey in Harridge Woods, where over 30 boxes were checked. Although we didn’t manage to see any dormice, we did come across some old nests which is a positive sign!

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