One of the absolute delights of working at Stump is the 4am wake up for the bird survey.
Okay I am fibbing, but the ecology surveys are one of my favourite things, and although getting up for the bird survey is a drag, being out on the hill with the team at that time in the morning is just magical. I'm genuinely sorry to announce that our ecological surveys are completed for the year and I'm already looking forward to next years plans!
Our surveys are all run by our volunteers and we're lucky to have experts across the board, being joined this year by a fungi and lichen specialist doing her MSc research was a delight - and we learnt loads about rewetting mosses, the importance of small rocks and importantly that you needed to check you hadn't lost her examining a wall on your way up the hill.
The surveys are hard work, in particular setting up for the plant survey when you might find yourself wading through waist high bracken and bramble, to lay out a quadrat post! So I'm always so impressed with the team that turns up and just get's on with it, whatever the weather and whatever the slope or terrain is like.
We're a little early to report back this years data, but my personal favourites were seeing the bright gold yellowhammer and learning that there are multiple types of thistle! As well as getting to see the diversity of grasses already starting to appear in the area of the hill that is being mown and managed. This is making a huge difference to the ground flora and it's great to see this benefitting so much.
I promise to do a more detailed blog post, giving you a little insight into the delights from the hill. But for now, a huge thankyou to all those who helped!