Friday, 30 January 2009

Scrub Clearance in the Valley.

This is the first time I've seen a Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding on sunflower seed kernels in the garden, especially surprising as the three peanut feeders were available.

Colin Sumner mailed me to say that the scrub clearance in the South Foreland Valley was progressing well.

The main problem with chalk grassland is that it isn't a climax vegetation, so that unless the management is attentive it quickly becomes scrubbed over, and the chalk flora is lost. A good area has been cleared, but I don't know how long it will take to get back to a proper chalk downland.

Imagine this in May with a covering of flowers including several orchid species and the effort will be worth it, but it will need a lot of grazing and mowing to get back to that condition. I'm sure that the Kent Trust has been involved as they are the experts in the county at maintaining this sort of habitat.

On they way out of the Valley, passing the Pine Gardens I noticed this Moorhen tucked away under a tree. Moorhens are very common, but in St Margaret's we lack much suitable habitat for them, so it's good to get it on the local year list in January.

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