Last Saturday we spent another great day out at Blairbeich Bog - this time building plastic dams. We managed a new record of 16 dams! in just one day. However before there are suspicions of bionic & superhuman volunteers we must admit there were a few factors playing in our favour...the peat was soft and we encountered very few roots, which means the dams went in smoothly.
Also, the dams were in general constructed of short (1-1.5m) sections of plastic piling, as we were blocking small, parallel ditches that all lead into one main ditch. It was a great effort and we even finished early. Throughout the day, parts of the team went to complete the peat depth survey of the SSSI area, which means we now have a full data set of peat depths for Blairbeich - which is also great news.
We were lucky with the weather and apart from a strong wind and the occasional small drops we also saw some sunshine. However the old pair of jeans we use for building the dams was not quite so lucky and looks much worse for wear - or could this be fashionable Bog design? We also came across some lovely wildlife, including a Palmate newt and a couple of Foxmoth caterpillars.
Thank you to everyone who took part, for their brilliant effort in building these first dams on Blairbeich and completing the peat depth survey. We will return to Blairbeich this coming Saturday - 25th October, maybe see you there...
This week the Bog Squad managed to be in two places at once. One team of Volunteers returned to Blairbeich Bog, which showed itself from its best side - with sunny and mild weather.
First up was the moth trap, kindly set up by Paul the night before. We all gathered around the trap wondering what it may reveal...there were plenty midges, yet only one! single moth. Nevertheless this VIP of a moth , a Canary-shouldered Thorn was quite a sight and we all appreciated having seen it. The general conclusion was that it may have been too windy overnight for the trap to be anymore successful. Ah well ,there is always a next time...
We swiftly moved onto the day's tasks. One of which was measuring & recording the peat depth of Blairbeich Bog across a systematic grid of survey points, marked with GPS. The peat went as deep as 524cm at one point, which could mean Blairbeich is around 5240years old! (A bog grows about 1mm/year).
We also continued cutting Rhododendron bushes, which are growing within the SSSI boundaries and encroaching on the bog. Richard, who has pesticide qualifications, helped us treat the cuts stumps to prevent further regrowth. Additionally another part of the team was busy removing pine trees from the open bog.
Between hard work we enjoyed a sunny and relaxed lunch. Meanwhile two volunteers were busy promoting the Bog Squad at this year's RSPB Volunteer day at Stirling University. They had lots of interest in our bog restoration work and we look forward to welcoming more helping hands at future work parties.
A Big Thank You! to everyone for this Saturday's fantastic efforts - we made another big step towards improving Blairbeich Bog and we look forward to returning for more restoration work here on 18th and 25th October.
Another sunny day at Langlands Moss last Saturday and the Bog Squad together with the Friends of Langlands Moss got busy improving the Western corner of the bog.
There was plenty to go on and we had various work stations at and around two ditches that were draining the water off the bog.
Everyone got stuck in with their tool of choice...
We loppered and sawed trees and there was some great Lumberjack - team work.
We also managed to complete/improve four dams that had been in place already and build three new ones.
At lunch time we visited the dams that we had installed in May. We found that in these last three months the dams had filled up with a substantial amount of water - making a success of their job of re-wetting the bog.
Hopefully our new dams will do equally as well.
But of course wildlife was never far from our minds throughout the day. We enjoyed a Red Admiral butterfly fluttering around us and caught a Haworth's Minor moth to marvel at. During lunch we spotted a Ruddy Darter dragonfly and Scott was so kind to bring along a beautiful looking Green-brindled Crescent moth from his moth trap.
All in all it's been a fantastic day- so thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm, hard work and good company. Also a big thank you to the Friends of Langlands Moss for helping to organise the day.
We have now updated our programme and are looking forward to six more work parties for the rest of the year.
Apart from our usual restoration work - such as ditch damming and scrub removal - we will also conduct peat depth surveys using a peat probe & GPS.
For this we will systematically measure the peat depth of the raised domes at some of our sites, so that the overall peat cover and therefore carbon storage for these bogs can be calculated - Some bogs can be up to 10m deep!
Check out the Peat Depth Survey Guidance by SNH for more info on what these surveys involve.
Weather permitting we are also looking forward to another moth trap morning or two...
So get your flasks, fleeces and waterproofs ready and join us for an interesting range of work parties in some great locations this autumn and winter.
Looking forward to see you there.
A small group of us braved the rain at Braehead Moss this Saturday - It turned out to be quite a joyous afternoon. We managed to remove a considerable patch of birch and pine and spotted at least five Green-veined White butterflies - equally as wet as us - and a young toad which seemed quite comfortable with the weather.
After lunch we went for a walk across the bog and peripheral woodland. We found a range of interesting things including a Palmate newt and a striking Broom moth caterpillar. We also marvelled at mosses and managed to key out some grasses.
One of the highlights must have been the Buff-tailed Bumblebee nest build inside a hummock of dried Sphagnum moss. After a few minutes of observation of the 3 or 4 bees inside the Sphagnum cushion - we were wondering what they were doing? - We made a bit of a jump when all of a sudden dozens of bees emerged with an almighty buzz from inside the moss. Needless to say I did not get a photo of that moment...
So THANK YOU to those who came out on Saturday for their hard work and enthusiasm, despite the weather...!
For our next work party on 13th September we look forward to return to Langlands Moss...
We had a warm day at Cander Moss this Sunday. The highlight of our morning was the inspection of a moth trap set up for us by SWT Ranger Alex the night before - Thank you!. It was great to have experts with us who helped identify the 20 or so species that had taken residence in the trap overnight. We potted as many as we could and marvelled at the range of colours, shapes and sizes.
There were many Large Yellow Underwing, an impressive Garden Tiger, a pretty green July Highflyer, stunning Golden Spots and a Plain Golden Y and many more, which made for a lot of photo opportunities... - see the Gallery below with a selection of our findings.
We then went on with business as usual and cleared a good area of small birch trees - the cover was quite dense with many small seedlings that could be hand pulled. We also conducted the Large Heath survey - however no luck this time. Large Heath have been recorded on Cander Moss before - around the beginning of the Millenium - however we may just have been too late for Large Heath this year, as they started flying quite early (mid-June).
All in all it was a successful day - so thank you to all involved for their hard work! We are looking forward to return to Cander Moss - probably sometime in September - we will soon update our programme with more dates. We are now looking forward to our next work party at Braehead Moss also in South Lanarkshire - maybe see you there...
Below is a slide show of the many fauna and flora we saw as we surveyed each bog from cranberry's and clouded buff moths to rarer plants such as bog rosemary.
This Saturday the Bog Squad worked on beautiful Blairbeich Bog SSSI situated in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Our day began with cutting dense Rhododendron in the woodland peripheral to the Bog. We also had two Large Heath survey teams who found and counted 88 Large Heath butterflies in total - a brilliant outcome, considering that Large Heath are a first recording for Blairbeich Bog!
During the day we found other interesting things too, among them many day-flying moths, such as the Purple Bar, Spinach, Northern Eggar, Common White Wave and Clouded Buff. There were also caterpillars of the Beautiful Yellow Underwing and Green Hairstreak, not to mention the beautiful Bog Asphodels and Sundews that were out flowering in abundance.
Once we cleared a substantial patch of Rhododendron we moved out to the open bog and cleared an area of smaller pine trees.
All in all it was a great day out, with much work done, many Butterflies & Moths identified and recorded and all this in good company. A Big thank you to everyone involved, not only for their hard work, but also for their Lepidoptera knowledge and enthusiasm.
This saturday the Bog Squad worked at Lockshaw Mosses in Fife (between Alloa and Dunfermline). The day incorporated cutting of Rhododendron bushes, which are growing in big patches across the open bog, as well as walk over surveys to look for Large Heath butterflies. However we hardly had stepped onto the Moss when the first Large Heath butterfly crossed our path. Thanks to Callum - our 'young legs' - the butterfly could be netted and identified (see photo) - success! This is the first record of Large Heath butterflies on Lockshaw Moss, which are rare occurrences in Fife in general and have only been recorded on one other site. What a fantastic start to the day!
In total we came across 27 individual Large Heath and plenty of Hare's tail Cotton grass and Cross-Leaved Heath, which are essential food plants for these butterflies. We also recorded other plants & insects and came across moths such as True Lover's Knot, Wood Tiger and Common Heath. We saw a beautiful and lonesome Heath Spotted Orchid and a Common Nettle full of Peacock butterfly caterpillars at the side of the track leading to the Moss (see photos).
We managed to clear a substantial patch of Rhododendron, see the before and after photos below.
We found an interesting range of insects during our survey but also whilst cutting Rhododendron - at times quite distracting! So much to see!
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable day - the banter was good, the weather was just right and we made a great discovery...see below a photo of the momentous Moment with Callum holding the pot with the Large Heath in question...Thanks to everyone involved for their hard work, interest and enthusiasm!
Hopefully we can repeat the success on our next days out!
This weekend the Bog Squad had its first work party on Langlands Moss joined with Friends of Langlands Moss (FOLM). It was a glorious sunny day and thanks to the Commmunity Payback youth group and to Maureen’s organisation (who is the Chair of FOLM) all building materials had been delivered close to our work area for us.
Over the years the FOLM have put a lot of work into the Moss, installing dams across various ditches. So left to tackle was a main ditch in the West corner, which presented a distinct line of rushes filled with running water draining the bog , as well as sporadic trees growing in and next to it - see the photo of the ditch to the left 'BEFORE' the Bog Squad & FOLM started working here. The photo to the right was taken 'AFTER' or at the end of our work party, apart from the dam(s), also note the lack of trees around the ditch!
The terrain was challenging as we were working on the forest-to-bog area of the Moss and the ridge and furrow topography of the former plantation was very noticeable underfoot. But everyone managed well as we carried the plastic sheets to our dam locations.
There was a lot of expertise in the team, as more than half of the group had been involved with installing plastic dams before . So we had two dam building teams, who managed 5 very well built dams over the day.
Another team did a great job of clearing trees and scrub around the ditch area. At Lunch time at the old car park there were discussions about butterfly sightings, bird watching, damselflies and interestingly fires on bogs...
All in all it was a successful and enjoyable day – so Thanks again for your hard work Ross, Marianne, Stuart, Tam, Jim, Bill, Yvonne, Maureen, Erik, George, Yvonne, Susan and Craig.
This weekend the Bog Squad, as part of Butterfly Conservation took part in the Scottish Birdfair at Hopetoun House in Edinburgh, which is organised and run by RSPB. The event had a great atmosphere with plenty to see, learn and experience for the whole family, e.g. kids could learn how to turn into bats, people could get close up to a 'live' nuthatch at the ringing tent, there was opportunity to listen to interesting talks, e.g. about ghost moths and of course there where displays and exhibitions a whole range of conservation organisations..
We spread the word about the Bog Squad and enjoyed a whole day talking and enthusing young and old people about Butterflies & Moths.
We also exchanged notes with Sustrans who are currently developing a Volunteer project, called Greener Greenways, which looks to create wildlife corridors along their national cycle routes.
All in all a great day!
On 31st May we will be installing plastic dams at Langlands Moss Local Nature Reserve.
We look forward to continue our collaboration with Friends of Langlands Moss and help install dams across one of the bigger ditches in the reserve.
It promises to be a rewarding days work - every dam built gives the bog a better chance of staying wet and supporting rare wildlife and plants. The effect of the dams can sometimes be seen only just a few weeks after installation, when water builds up and Sphagnum Moss begins to colonise the new wet areas.
More information about the work party here
This will be the first of many work parties to come this summer - so watch this space!
The Bog Squad was officially launched today by MSP Aileen Campbell - champion of the Large Heath butterfly - at Langlands Moss Local Nature Reserve. Butterfly Conservation, who were represented by committee members of the Glasgow & SW Scotland branch and the peatland restoration project officer, joined forces with the Friends of Langlands Moss .
It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and it was great to see so many people (around 30!) come and help us launch our Peatland Restoration Project.
A big Thank You for the support we received from the Friends of Langlands Moss.
Ahead of the event the Scotland on Sunday already had published an article: 'Bog Squad on a mission to save Butterflies'.
So now it's time to roll up our sleeves and get ready to Bog Squad...and where better to start, then Langlands Moss..so watch out for our first work party at the end of May - further details to come within the next few days...
After the launch members of both organisations took to bin bags for a spring clean litter pick of the reserve.