Apologies for the lack of posts since last Spring – it’s been an incredibly busy time for me personally and career-wise. I have still been doing plenty of stuff on the reserve but haven’t been writing anything on the blog.
One big change from previous years is that I have now handed the mapping task back to the Wildlife Trust, as it was becoming impossible for me to maintain the same level of effort that I had done before, due to work commitments. The mapping usually involved 5-6 visits to the reserve each Spring with teams of friends or just by myself, noting down the plants or trying to find them using measuring tapes. Then the bit that nobody saw, when I’d spend 2-3 hours each evening typing the data into a huge spreadsheet and checking it against previous years. The Trust staff are now going to take a more pragmatic view and are developing their own method of estimating the colony size, rather than calculating it to the individual plant.
This gives me much more energy and time to concentrate on running the monthly workparties and to actually go up and enjoy the site – something that I have been missing recently. I’ll now have the time to do more guided walks for visitors and actually take time to survey insects and to watch how the winter management pans out during the growing season. But it does mean that I won’t be able to report here on exact numbers of plants but instead I will be giving my overall impressions on how the orchids are doing and on the condition of the site and the species living there.