RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH FROM JANUARY 27TH TO 29TH 2018

We are asking members, and anyone really eg schools, to take part in this simple annual garden birdwatch which can be completed online or by freepost. See www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatchhowto for further details. The RSPB are asking for one hour of your time to make a simple record of what you see in your garden or park. This year is as important as ever due to national concerns about declines in bird species, so please have a go, it's really easy.

UPDATE: Look at the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk for this year's results, which indicate a positive outcome for house sparrows which have declined in recent years.

TESTING WATER QUALITY AND CONSERVING RIVER HABITATS

During the latter part of 2017 the Group (MVWG) has been testing the water quality in different areas of Moss Valley in an effort to check for any areas of concern in Moss Brook, its tributary streams/inflows and ponds. So far we have tested at 20 sites and we will add a few more on our next recording walk before the survey closes for 2017.

This work stems from an initiative set up by The FRESHWATER HABITATS TRUST www.freshwaterhabitats.org.uk which has run the Clean Water for Wildlife Survey over the last two years. The survey’s aim is to raise awareness of the threats to our natural fresh water habitats and identify clean water habitats in England and Wales. Its ultimate aim is to help to protect freshwater biodiversity.

The Trust provides free testing equipment and the current survey ends at the end of 2017. The test only covers pollution from nitrates and phosphates, so cannot test for other forms of pollution. So far MVWG has found only moderate traces of these chemicals, however we may see fluctuations at times of the year when chemicals are applied to the land more frequently. Nitrate contamination comes mainly from artificial fertilisers via run-off from fields. Run-off becomes more of a problem if the soil lacks sufficient organic material to hold moisture. Phosphate contamination comes mainly from sewage including animal dung, because artificial phosphate fertiliser is less soluble and tends to stay in the soil.

It has been striking to see how short a distance can show fluctuations in contamination levels, possibly due to natural filtering and the influx of clean water. We have a lot to learn, but we know that some species are particularly sensitive to pollution. The above website contains useful information.

The DON CATCHMENT RIVERS TRUST www.dcrt.org.uk has acquired funding to work with others to improve the water environment and deliver environmental benefits for people and wildlife. The Moss Brook, as a tributary to the rivers Rother and Don, forms part of the overall plan drawn up by DCRT. In 2017 MVWG accompanied DCRT staff on a walk along the Moss Brook to look at ways in which the Brook could be improved, for example by removing blockages to help the movement of fish. DCRT has secured funding for conservation work on Eckington Marsh and has applied for further funding to support conservation work in the Don Catchment area. We continue to follow this welcome initiative and will contribute where we can.

MayflyYoung toad

OTHER, OLDER NEWS ITEMS CAN BE VIEWED ON THE ARCHIVES PAGE

 

 

joomla visitor