A rare spider from The Lagoon area
A male Philodromus rufus was discovered on the bark of a Willow tree at The Lagoon last Tuesday. It has been confirmed by international experts.
Tuesday 23 April
On Tuesday we will start preparing The Lagoon site for re-seeding. Meet at the Holly Lane car park at 10:00hrs.
Fire and water
This week there were contrasting scenes at Stagbury and, a short distance away, at the newly planted lagoon beside Outwood Lane.
Stagbury's mega-hot bonfire made short work of some of the piles of dead bramble and other brush we have been hacking and slashing. Due to the recent dry weather it went up like a rocket every time material was added, so the fire was kept small(ish) to avoid it spreading over a wider area. There's plenty of fuel left for another burn-up!
Meanwhile the lagoon was an oasis of calm where, after only five days since the water plants were installed, there were already signs of life. Besides some water skaters, we counted no fewer than 18 Marsh Marigold blooms.
The Nationally Notable A spider, Salticus zebraneus, has been recorded from the trunk of an old oak tree in Lord's Wood field.
Tuesday 16 April
The task for Tuesday 16 April is to continue to reduce the bramble and scrub present on Stagbury field. Meet at the Holly Lane car park at 10:00hrs.
Greening the lagoon
Today, as part of our ongoing project to 'green' the chalky drainage lagoon beside Outwood Lane, the WoodChip volunteers installed 12 metres of pond plant matting around the shallow end. The pre-planted coir matting, in 2m x .5m strips, contains a mix of the following British native marginal plant species:
Carex acutiformis (Lesser Pond Sedge)
Juncus effusus (Soft Rush)
Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife)
Iris pseudacorus (Yellow Flag Iris)
Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigold)
Myosotis scorpioides (Water Forget Me Not)
Ranunculus flammula (Lesser Spearwort)
Alisma plantago-aquatica (Water Plantain)
Mentha aquatica (Water Mint).
The biodegradable matting was laid half in the water and the other half secured to the bank with stones and sharpened sticks. The matting holds the plant roots in place until they become established.
In addition, we put in some Marsh Cinquefoil, Brooklime, and Water Soldier. Plus over 50 bunches of free-floating Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) were added to the water as oxygenators.
The matting and Hornwort plants were supplied by britishpondplants.co.uk.
Big thanks to the Downlands Trust for providing the funds for this worthwhile conservation project.
It's already having an effect. As we finished the work, a water skater appeared and several birds came down to investigate the planting. Later, a frog was found in the area surrounding the lagoon. Sadly, it had only one hand but was otherwise normal!
The water plants are intended to complement the wildflower seeding and planting we have already carried out on the walls of the lagoon, with more to come. In the flatter area outside the fence some invasive species have been sprayed or dug out to provide patches of bare soil. These will also be seeded with wildflowers, this time provided by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.
Watch this space for updates on all the new growth in due course.
Friday 11th April