Waterblitz in the Sun

Monday, March 14th 2016

We could not have picked a better day for the 'Waterblitz', the sun shone and hardly a breeze. Anne Heathcote, the Regional Officer for the North of England Freshwater Habitats Trust, had pre-arranged a visit to our site to test the wetland area for nitrates and phosphates which could compromise our wetland habitats. Excessive amounts of both can cause algae, fungi, bacteria, and some water plants to grow more rapidly than they naturally would, and therefore tip the balance and smother, or crowd out the less tolerant, slower growing species which tend to be the rarer ones!  As you can see Jenny dropped a 2 pence piece in the grass and spent most of the morning looking for it!

So off we marched up to the Wetland Ponds to take 24 samples. With our little sample bottles filled, and having seen the huge amounts of frog spawn, a Water Vole, Otter spraints .... and no one falling in (though I did have the camera ready), we returned to the Field Centre to do the actual testing. The weather was so kind that we sat at the picnic table, in the sun, recording the results. The overall good news is that the whole area has no, or minute elements of nitrate and phosphate.

If anyone requires any kits for their own ponds contact the Freshwater Habitats Trust, we are waiting for further kits to arrive so we can extend the survey to other water sources around the reserve.  If you want to get more involved with the health of our ponds please just contact me.

When you look at the various clumps of frog spawn, as in the photo above, it is hard to believe that each clump is a separate female frog laying her eggs . In this group alone there are over 20 clumps laid at different times over the weekend, indicating the amount of frogs present. As the clumps mature they tend to spread out to become one mass.

And more Otter spraints!

The afternoon was spent doing various servicing/maintenance work on the machinery while Ruth and Elizabeth got up to date with the Field Centre pricing and stock.

Thank you to Anne and Peter for their guidance with the water testing, and to all those that helped today.

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