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Pillwort and Mud Snail Surveying

Monday, October 26th 2015

A few weeks ago we held Mud Snail and Pillwort identification sessions with the help of the Freshwater Habitats Trust in order to train our willing volunteers to be able to survey for these nationally scarce species.

Today we headed up to the wetland to carry out the surveys for the 2015 season. On the training days we identified ponds that have nationally significant populations of Mud Snails and Pillwort and these were designated as the focal ponds. The Mud Snail focal pond was surveyed for abundance of the snails; this is a tricky process of sampling the ponds for sixty seconds and then removing the snails from the sample.

Each snail is then studied to identify if it is a Mud Snail or one of a number of other species such as Marsh Snail that are found on the reserve. The abundance is then recorded and we were pleased to find seven Mud Snails in the survey at the focal pond. The other ponds in the area were then checked for the presence of Mud Snails and again we were very pleased to find them in one of the adjacent ponds.

We also completed the survey for Pillwort, again using an identified focal pond as a starting point and recording the coverage of Pillwort in that pond.

We then checked the surrounding ponds and again found it growing in another one of our wetland ponds.

The results of the survey will now be fed into the PondNet database as a baseline record of the abundance of both species here at Foxglove. We will continue to carry out these surveys year on year which will enable us to see how the species are progressing and allow us to identify suitable management methods to ensure they continue to thrive.

We would like to thank Anne Heathcote from the Freshwater Habitats Trust for coming to help us today and also our volunteers who carried out these important surveys.

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