Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Fundamentals of Ecology Day 2

The second rotation of the first two days was a visit to Down Farm on Start Point. This farm is managed under Higher Level Stewardship for wildlife by Richard Voss. The students looked around the farm and saw the methods being used to make it more wildlife friendly, sampled for invertebrates and met some of the animals.

Rob Parkinson extolling the virtues of good old fashioned manure management for farming and wildlife (again!). (The author of these notes is trying very hard not to write "Rob talking crap again")

Invertebrate sampling - are there any bugs brave enough to put their heads above ground on another cold, misty and windy day. Students also looked whether there were more invertebrates in rough grassland than arable fields.
Long walk back up the valley to the farm for lunch
 Meeting the residents of Down Farm (on the right......). They were friendly!
A well deserved lunch in the barns

The other half of the group was at Prawle looking at the Cirl Buntings which allowed for more gratuitous Oil Beetle shots!

Not so nice was this Guillemot that seems to have some problems with its feathers, possibly due to the polyisobutene spill that is affecting Guillemots in Devon and Cornwall. Incidentally, it was the Environmental Research Centre at Plymouth that first identified this compound as the cause.

Each evening, after the excellent dinner provided by the centre,  small groups of students are going on Bat Walks looking at two roosts locally and using bat detectors to detect feeding bats on the Ley.

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