It's been a very long time since any "work-type" news update was made on the Blog, unfortunately I'm not an 'Official Blogger', so you can all make-do with this more awesome forum post until someone does an official Blog update. As of the 25th of June, I will no longer be working here at Northward Hill, so to all that have worked with me in any context here at North Kent Marshes, it's been a fantabulous experience!
Unfortunately, the middle of March and April saw the departure of our Administrator Sally Jennings and one of our residential volunteers Gail Turney. Sally is enjoying retirement with her husband Malcolm, but both can often be spotted helping with biological monitoring on the NKM reserves with surveys such as water vole monitoring. Sally and Malcolm along with Roger Kiddie and the RSPB team are currently busy getting a new recording group off the ground: NATT @ NKM (Non avian taxa team at North Kent Marshes…watch this space. Gail has since moved onto a position within the ecological sector as a project manager at Orfordness and Havergate Island, where we all wish her the best for her future career. A few days after Gail left in April, North Kent Marshes saw the arrival of its new warden, Jason Mitchell, who has joined us from Kent Wildlife Trust where he was Biodiversity Warden for the Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve, and James Chen also joined at the same time as a new residential volunteer. Alan Parker, a past warden at Northward Hill, has recently retired from the RSPB and we all wish him the very best for his well earned retirement, and thank him for the many years he dedicated to conserving the wildlife of the North Kent Marshes and elsewhere.
Butterfly transects, organised and carried out by Roger Kiddie and Harry Whitehead at Northward Hill and Cliffe Pools have added welcome non-avian wildlife records. Recent sightings include peacock, large white, small white, orange-tip, speckled wood, green-veined white, common blue, holly blue, red admiral, comma, brimstone, wall brown, small heath and even green hairstreak butterflies.
National Moth night was a success, with leading help from Roger Kiddie, David James and the local groups and volunteers. Although the evening was slow to begin with, moth activity increased and resulted in a large haul of moths by the end of the event.
This year’s safari day at Cliffe Pools was attended by over 100 families all keen to take part in events such as insect sweeping, arts and crafts, pond dipping and there was even an environmentally friendly themed puppet show performed by David James and his team of field tutors.
Recent water vole monitoring led by Malcolm Jennings found a lot of activity during the May/June survey at Northward Hill (much better than last year it seems), we also recorded blue-tailed damselfly, numerous drinker moth larvae and bearded tit.
The spring and summer months have been relatively dry so far but occasional heavy showers have helped greatly with the water levels in the ditches.
New interpretation panels have been installed at the Flamingo Pool at Cliffe Pools, with more old signs soon to be replaced (the pinnacle and the main car park signs are now brand new!). We are also due to refurbish many of the benches, sign and place new way markers both at Cliffe Pools and Northward Hill. Watch out for them!
Cliffe and Northward Hill wildlife highlights:
Shore lark, turtle dove, avocet, nightingale, lesser whitethroat, ring ouzel, Mediterranean gull, peregrine, marsh harrier, cuckoo, common tern, common buzzard, little owl.
Emerald damselfly, scarce emerald damselfly, four-spotted chaser, small red-eyed damselfly, hairy dragonfly, tree bumble bee, hill cuckoo bee, small heath, green hairstreak, great silver diving beetle.
Mammals, Amphibians and Reptiles:
Hare, water vole, pipistrelle bat, harvest mouse nest, stoat, grass snake, slowworm, adder, palmate newt.
Great post James. Am sorry to see you go. Good luck with finding a new position. Things won't be the same without you. Keep us updated. EL
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