Thursday, 29 August 2019

August Update

Amazingly this weekend signals the beginning of September, and, as it tends to at this time of year, it feels like we have blinked and missed summer. However, looking back on the last month we have packed in a lot of work on the reserve. From events and shorebird wardening to the beginning of our practical work program, it has been a busy and varied month! 

The shorebird season is mostly finished with large numbers of fledgling birds from Lindisfarne and beyond using the reserve as a staging post before beginning their epic migrations south. On the flipside, thousands of waders and wildfowl are massing in the high artic waiting for the right weather to move en masse to their winter home…..Lindisfarne. Already large flocks of Redshank and Curlew are descending on the mudflats with numbers increasing every week.
Ringed Plovers breed on the reserve
Our events programme has been in full swing this summer with shorebird crafts for children held at the Windows on Wild Lindisfarne building as well as disseminating the key messages of reserve to adults. We have been making flappy terns, Lapwing puppets, butterfly masks and making huge numbers of badges. There has also been guided walks, rockpool rambles and seal watches. For more information visit where a full list of our upcoming events can be found.

Craft event at the WoWL building

The annual battle with pirri-pirri burr commenced as several groups have been out, clearing the seed heads from the main paths and desire lines within the dune system. This New Zealand native plant was first discovered on the reserve in 1930 and has since spread far and wide across Northumberland. It is incredibly easy to spread as the sticky burrs adhere to visitors shoes and socks and dogs fur and drop off at a later stage, germinating elsewhere. At Lindisfarne NNR we don't use chemical sprays that will harm other important dune plants within the ecosystem. That means that we have to remove them by hand! A thankless task some would say but a necessary one. If you are walking through the dunes please keep dogs on a short lead and remove all traces of burrs from your clothes, shoes and pets before you leave the reserve.
Balled up seed heads of Pirri-pirri Burr - don't leave the reserve with your shoes looking like this!
Another constant battle is with the tide of plastic waste that is continuing to wash up on our shores. A number of litter picks have been carried out on the island itself and there are others planned over the coming month. We ask that you please take all rubbish with you when you leave the reserve.

If you would like to take part in an organised Beach clean there is one scheduled on 14th September. We meet at the snook car park just before 10am (gloves, bags and litterpicker provided).
We also have a Marine pollution solutions event coming up on 7th September between 13:00 and 15:00 at the WoWL building. The aim of this is to educate children and adults alike through games and crafts about best practice to dispose of plastic waste. So come along and find out more!

We normally see a few painted lady butterflies around the reserve every year but this year was a little bit different. Painted ladies make a multi-generational migration from Africa every year and early news reported good numbers further south. The weather on the continent aided their migration and breeding with scorching weather and southerly winds pushing them ever northward towards our doorstep. In the last week of July they finally arrived in numbers that haven’t been seen in over a decade.
Lots of Painted Ladies on Ragwort during the impressive influx
Clouds of these exquisitely delicate aeronauts could be seen on every flower around the reserve. Recently more people have become aware of using nature as a form of therapy and I can definitely concur that there is something that is stirred in your soul when you see these incredible mass migrations!

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