As outlined in Part 1 of this blog, we’ve been working hard on Aird Meadow to cut back and remove the vegetation. By stripping out the nutrients in this way, we can knock back the dominant species such as grass and produce a habitat in which a greater diversity of plants, including wildflowers can establish themselves. In turn, we’ll attract more insects which will provide a food source for larger animals and support the food chain from the bottom, up.

Our contractor ‘topping’ the meadow.

As you can see from the pictures, we recently had a contractor in to do a further cut on the Aird Meadow. Our young volunteers then had the task of removing the cut grasses and reeds, so that they don’t have a chance to rot down, adding their nutrients to the mix. Wildflowers do better in poorer soil, without the fierce competition from grasses. By creating open ground free from bulky, cut vegetation, small shallow pools will form which will attract a variety of wildfowl and waders, so keep your binoculars peeled this winter!

Some sections were left uncut, and this will provide good cover for a variety of invertebrates. Wet weather and flooding will then sometimes flush out some of these invertebrates and any seeds from the vegetation and make them available as food for other wildlife. Nature is dynamic and always causing things to change, but up to a point this is what most wildlife thrives on.

The young volunteers assess the meadow…

…before getting to work!

Pools have been created among the cut areas and longer vegetation.

The scale of the site becomes clearer – the young vols can *just* be seen in the middle of the picture at the back.

 

What a difference a week makes. This was the scene when the vols were at work in early October…

…and here’s the same view 7 days later! The dynamism of nature is evident with a change in conditions capitalised on by these Canada geese.

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