Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Spring and Volunteers

Now, here is an interesting paper. It is entitled 'Effect of beaver dams on the hydrology of small mountain streams: example from the Chevral in the Ourthe Orientale basin, Ardennes, Belgium
by: J. Nyssen, J. Pontzeele, P. Billi.


I have to admit that, though I have read the summary, I have not yet read the whole paper.

We have been very lucky to attract the attentions of groups of volunteers. The Dundee Conservation Volunteers come to cut rhododendrons. Here they are on a stretch of the Cateran Trail that passes through Bamff and runs next to the Burnieshed Burn, the home of one of the families of beavers that live here.

One of the draws of cutting rhododendrons is the bonfire that consumes the cut branches and stems. We have also enjoyed the visits of the New Caledonian Woodland volunteers. They have respaced birch, planted trees along the banks of the burn, and joined in the assault on the rhododendron, as did a group of Dutch students last summer.

Every year for the last four or so a group of First Year students from Edinburgh University has come to visit the beaver habitat. I look forward to this annual visit and enjoy the enthusiasm of the young people. Here is a photograph taken during their latest visit:

The students are taking samples of the water which they will take back to Edinburgh and analyse.

Otters are active along the burn. I thought this spraint was rather small for otter and wondered if it belonged to a mink. However, getting down to my knees and sniffing, I could detect no repulsive odour to qualify it for mink spraint, so I guess it must be otter. The folded Leatherman Utility Tool is 10cm (4 inches) long. 

Spring is in the air and the up-rushing sap in the beaver cut birches confirms that this is the case. Frogs and toads are migrating to the ponds to breed. 

The sap was dripping from this tree yesterday morning

Here is the fine old birch that is on its way to being felled. What insect life will enjoy the dripping juices?

Chris Potter pointed out the whereabouts of a couple of red squirrel dreys along the back drive. They are on both sides of the road, high in the overgrown mainly beech hedge.

Here is a link to the Martinez Beavers web site: MartinezBeavers.org

This is a brilliant web site with some extremely helpful links.

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