Trip reports

Field Trip to Parc Slip Nature Park

Field Trip to Parc Slip Nature Park
Adder - Craig Watson

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Eleven of us turned up on a sunny Sunday and were led by the Conservation Manager, Rob Parry, who had talked to us about Parc Slip Nature Reserve at one of our indoor meetings earlier in the year.
We started at the pond next to the visitor centre where Rob explained that the reserve terrain had taken thirty to forty years to recover from its days as an open cast mine. He also told us that there is a significant problem with invasive Crassula plants, which are of Australian origin and extremely difficult to eradicate, particularly in the ponds used for breeding Great crested newt.
At the pond Great White butterflies, which were abundant throughout the reserve, and Moorhen were seen. We continued the walk towards the "Reptile" field.
On the way, many species of butterfly were seen including Speckled Wood, Green Veined White and Small Skipper. Also Common Darter dragonflies and Azure and Blue-tailed damselflies were abundant. A Reed Bunting was seen at the edge of the field as well as Whitethroat flitting amongst the hedges.
Rob showed us a patch of recently planted Kidney Vetch in its first year of flowering. It had achieved its aim of attracting Small Blue butterflies back to the Reserve after 6-7 years absence.
In the "Reptile" Field, a male Adder was basking in the sunlight on top of some plastic sheeting. Another Adder and a Grass Snake were also found under some other sheeting, with the Grass Snake sliding quickly away.
On the way to the new Mary Gillham elevated hide, Gatekeeper and Tortoiseshell butterflies were noted and also a brightly coloured Cinnabar Moth. Song Thrush were seen at the far edge of the field and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Carrion Crow and Robin were also spotted. We came across a tiny toadlet which was near the path and a gravid female Common Lizard which was basking in the sun on a fence post.
The new hide gave excellent views of the newly excavated scrapes which had been completed six months previously. Little Ringed Plover had already been seen breeding and the chicks fledging. It was quite quiet on our visit, Emperor Dragonflies darting over the nearest pond and a Buzzard gliding in the distance but we have high hopes that the Scrapes Field will attract plenty of wintering wildfowl.
On the way back to the visitor centre the distinctive call of the Chiffchaff was heard, Swallow and a Skylark were also seen.
Thanks to Rob, it was a very informative and enjoyable day and we are all looking forward to visiting Parc Slip again.

Viv Jenkins