Friday, 11 September 2015

Cold, windy and inhospitable....

Yesterday was spent on the top of Cheviot surveying vegetation.  Forecast looked good but conditions were very cold (gloves on for the first time this autumn) and very windy.  Despite this the survey went well.  Interesting plants include stands of Cloudberry, lots of Stiff sedge, patches of Cowberry and White sedge to name but a few.  To me the most interesting thing was that Heath bedstraw and Tormentil were still in flower.  Furthermore, in the gullies there were stands of Sweet vernal grass, Common sorrel and Tufted hair-grass - all species that are very common 500 m lower down.

There were very few birds with the exception of 4 Ravens, 26 Red grouse, 10 Meadow pipits and a Merlin.  There was evidence that Otters were using the watercourses on the top and there was also a young male Roe Deer!  Short-tailed field voles were in abundance and there were some much larger holes that may suggest Water voles - in Scotland this species can be found in very low numbers on upland blanket bog (further investigation is needed).

Insects included a 14 spot ladybird, 1 Common hawker, an Antler moth and a possible Red carpet.

A great day despite the temperature!

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