Thames Road Wetland latest – Mk2 Harvest Mouse ‘safety’ tubes, Brown Argus confirmed and dumped car reported to police

Much time was spent yesterday (7th September) replacing Mark1 Harvest Mouse monitoring feeding tubes with a much safer Mk2 version that is also attached to a bamboo cane rather than in-situ vegetation. The new design features an ‘escape’ hatch at the bottom end in case the tube comes loose or is attacked by a Fox and tips up, and a lip to stop the bird seed ‘bait’ falling out of this. The new kit was assembled at home but still required some tweaking when being installed on site. Existing tubes in the core locations continue to be used, with only the husks of the seeds left. However, tubes at the west and south end paths, where nests have been found this year, have yet to be touched.

Harvest Mouse monitoring tubes , bundled together for transportation, await installation at Thames Road Wetland. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Harvest Mouse monitoring tubes (in a previous life, Lucozade bottles), bundled together for transportation, await installation at Thames Road Wetland. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Closer view of Mk2 Harvest Mouse monitoring tube, yet to be baited with bird seed, showing attachment to cane, rear 'escape hatch' and raised lip to stop food being shaken out in the wind. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Closer view of Mk2 Harvest Mouse monitoring tube, yet to be baited with bird seed, showing attachment to cane, rear ‘escape hatch’ and raised lip to stop food being shaken out in the wind. A strip of fabric cuts and grazes sticking plaster assists exit up the incline to the mouth of the bottle. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Two Brown Argus butterflies confirmed presence on the site, following ‘probables’ from last year when I had been less clear about the diagnostic features.

On a less positive note a car had been dumped at the east end of the site by someone who can unlock the locks on the gate, as happened with a previous fly-tipping incident. The vehicle has been reported to the police’s Crayford Safer Neighbourhood Team with whom I have previously worked over a number of stolen motorbikes dumped around the site, and Bexley Council’s Envirocrime unit, with another plea for them to sort out the gate access arrangements and if necessary change the padlocks, as this part of the site is Council-owned.

Dumped carat Thames Road Wetland, with smashed windscreen. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Dumped carat Thames Road Wetland, with smashed windscreen. (Photo: Chris Rose)

There were a few flowers left on the towering, and nationally scarce, Marsh Sow-thistles, but they’ve mainly gone to seed now.

Seeding Marsh Sow-thistles at Thames Road Wetland (Photo: Chris Rose)

Seeding Marsh Sow-thistles at Thames Road Wetland (Photo: Chris Rose)

Invertebrates seen included Migrant Hawker Dragonflies, Common Darters, the first Four-spotted Orb Weaver spider (Araneus quadratus) for several years, a Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.

After little calling from the Marsh Frogs this year, two were seen, and four others heard, diving into the east ditch.

Marsh Frogs were sunning themselves along the east ditch, but at the slightest disturbance dive in and submerge for a long time ...... (Photo:: Chris Rose)

Marsh Frogs were sunning themselves along the east ditch, but at the slightest disturbance dive in and submerge for a long time …… (Photo:: Chris Rose)

A large Grass Snake and a baby Common Lizard were disturbed along one of the paths. It’s a quiet time for birds,  but a Heron was seen rising off the Wansunt and a resident Cetti’s Warbler called a few times.

There's a river in theere somewhere ..... At this time of yaerthe very slow-flowing River wansunt is smothered in Water-forget-me-not , Fool's watercress and watercess as it crosses Thames Road Wetland (Photo Chris Rose)

There’s a river in there somewhere ….. At this time of year the very slow-flowing River Wansunt is smothered in Water-forget-me-not , Fool’s Watercress and Watercress as it crosses Thames Road Wetland (Photo Chris Rose)

Chris Rose. Volunteer Site Manager, Thames21.  

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