The magnificent Dorset heathlands are really starting to come alive, buzzing and fluttering with life - the heady scent of gorse hanging in the warm air, have you noticed it smells like coconut! Summer still feels a way off yet but with the arrival of May and temperatures creeping up, certain species are starting to emerge.
We’ve had some excellent reptile sightings over the last month with Sand Lizards showing nicely at the moment, Adder and Smooth Snake also being sighted. At this time of year, temperatures on a sunny day are often just right for reptiles to bask in the sun to warm up without it being too hot.
S.Lake & D. Liley
This week has been busy with habitat management work being carried out on some of our sites. Contractors have been creating dry scrapes especially for bare ground loving creatures. Large patches of exposed ground have been created which will provide excellent basking spots for our priority species sand lizards, also benefiting a number of invertebrate species; we’re hoping to see Heath Beefly and Heath Tiger Beetle using the areas.
The work is carried out by diggers and the impact on the heath can be seen pretty quickly, around 30 patches of varying shapes and sizes, approximately 5m x 2m, have already popped up onsite – and the contractors have already seen Sand Lizards basking on the bare ground, result! In addition, the spoil from the top layer excavation has been arranged around the site to provide yet more habitat - welcome cover for reptiles.
We’ve also been busy telling local people about the project, and the interest and support has been fantastic. We recently had a great turnout to our open meeting for potential survey volunteers, with people bringing all sorts of skills to the project. Survey season is fast approaching and we’re excited about getting out into the field to see how some of our species are doing and to begin gathering data.
We’re using the online recording system - Living Record, for our volunteers to submit biological records, and have been training them on how to use the system. We were privileged to have the creator of the system Adrian Bicker, from the Dorset Environmental Records Centre hold our first training session, and there will be more to follow.
The website has its own Back from the Brink section for reporting our priority species on our sites, making it easy to record what’s been seen so - biological recorders, follow this link to enter relevant records for our project!
Keep up to date with the project, or find out more by joining our DHH Facebook group.
Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:
- Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
- Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
- Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.