Report on the core area from July 18th to Oct 20th 2008.

Summary of report on the core area from July 18th to Oct 20th 2008. 

1 EVENTS – WALKS/EDUCATIONAL VISITS
The programme of guided walks & other activities in this period again proved successful & popular with 283 people attending 14 events. These concentrated on the core area & included walks on various wildlife topics including orchids, herbal plants, bats & butterflies with activities such as pond dipping and moth trapping - although poor weather reduced numbers on some events. In addition 5 groups of specialists and 3 students carrying out studies were guided & advised. In the buffer zone 3 groups totalling 69 people were shown other areas & moth trapping sessions were conducted in 3 separate locations. Illustrated talks were given to 6 local organisations.

2 MANAGEMENT
Grazing
The Flats, east of the American Road are being grazed by 60 bullocks & 40 ewes. The grazing trial area has been grazed by 44 cows & calves since the end of August.
Biosphere Volunteers Conservation Tasks 
A total of at least 67.5 volunteer work days have taken place during this period, giving a total of 178.5 this year.
Beach Cleans Two litter collecting tasks were undertaken from Saunton car park:
Aug 6th 15 staff from EDF in Exeter collected litter from the beach covering a 1 km stretch. The types of litter were recorded on a 200M stretch of the beach as part of the MCS Adopt a Beach scheme with Cat Jones the DWT Marine Conservation Awareness Officer. 
Sept 21st 30 volunteers collected litter from a 4km stretch of beach between Saunton and Old Walls & litter was recorded on a 500M stretch of beach as part of the MCS Scheme. One Transit pick up load of rubbish was taken away by the NDDC ‘Green Team’. 
Scrub clearance On 4 occasions around three of the larger ponds on the Burrows Pond pathways were strimmed through dense bramble cover; this was essential to enable visits with guided walks & pond dipping activity days.Tasks involving 8 regular Burrows volunteers have taken place on 26 occasions. Work has been concentrated on assisting with guided walks & educational activities, survey & monitoring tasks such as the water tables & rainfall, surveys of plants such as water germander & fragrant orchid, rabbit counts & general recording of flora and fauna that included moth trapping sessions. Some volunteers work independently, collecting & disposing of beach litter using their own 4WD transport 

3 RARE SPECIES
The small blue butterfly rediscovered this year has produced a small second brood. 
Water germander - surveys over the last 3 years have shown an overall decline from 59,430 stems in 2006 to 50,616 in 2008. However, it has colonised an excavated area in Twayblade Slack with a colony of 100 vigorous plants but has disappeared from 3 sites that have become overgrown due to a lack of management.

4 MONITORING
The monthly water table readings in 16 sites on the Burrows and rainfall readings at the White House have continued. Between July 31st & October 1st the rainfall recorded was 5110 ml. The water tables fluctuated but rose on average by 24.6cm during this period, most of this rise occurred in September. Three rabbit counts showed no significant change in numbers

5 PUBLICITY
The 3 new Information Boards were regularly updated with programmes and posters advertising events. News releases were mailed to the local papers who published some of them. Handouts and posters advertising events were produced and circulated to various local venues. The Burrows display boards & interactive exhibits were manned at 4 different functions where they generated much interest.

6 VANDALISM
The old interpretive sign in Sandy Lane car park has been burnt and several bridlepath signs damaged on the Burrows. The gate between Sandy Lane & the American Road north was badly damaged and it has since been replaced by Landmarc.

7 DOGS
The daily abuse by dog walkers has continued exacerbating the adverse affects on the flora and the fauna and the quality of other visitors’ experience of the site. Obnoxious piles of both uncovered and bagged dog faeces are concentrated around the entrances by the new signs in Broadsands & Sandy Lane & at the junction of the bridlepath & Dog Lane. Visitors with a greater respect and interest in the site have found this offputting. The new information boards invite dog owners to use dog bins but none are provided in Sandy Lane or Broadsands!

8 SANDY LANE CAR PARK
The gates to the entrance of the American Road & the car park have been repaired, they have been left open & the public continue to use the car park. The locked gate leading into the northern part of the American Road has been replaced and remains locked. 

9 SAFETY
Unrepaired potholes at the entrance to Sandy Lane car park and 400 metres north on the tarmac road leading to it have caused damage to some cars, the latter when water filled is dangerous, especially to cyclists. 

J M Breeds Education Warden 20.10.08
 

1 EVENTS – WALKS/EDUCATIONAL VISITS

The programme of guided walks & other activities in this period again proved successful & popular with 299 people attending 20 events. These concentrated on the core area & included walks on various wildlife topics including orchids, herbal plants, bats & butterflies with activities such as pond dipping and moth trapping - although poor weather reduced numbers on some events. This includes 4 groups of specialists, 6 societies & 3 school & college groups and 3 students carrying out studies who were guided & advised. Additionally in the buffer & transition zones 3 groups totalling 69 people were shown other areas & moth trapping sessions were conducted in 3 separate locations. Details are given below.

July 22 - Sandy Lane Daniel Brutto of CCW was shown aspects of the flora concentrating on the ex fen 
orchid site in Partridge Slack.
July 23 - Sandy Lane -Pete Yeo of Instow in Bloom & Mike Hands a rain forest scientist were taken 
around the dunes to see the different habitats.
July 27 1130-1700 - Sandy Lane, Butterfly Conservation Devon Branch, 10 members enjoyed sights of 
brown argus & other insects.
July 27 1430-1730 - Horsey Island Trail, 9 participants. 
Aug 2 1430-1730 – Broadsands, Family Nature Day ,12 participants with 5 children enjoyed pond dipping.
Aug 3 1000-1630 – British Dragonfly Society - 5 members braved threatening weather & found the target species of red darter Sypetrum sanguineum in 2 locations.
Aug 4 Mary Anne Smythe was shown Braunton Countryside Centre & parts of the Burrows as part of her information gathering about setting up a Biosphere Reserve in Galloway.
Aug 7 - 2030-2330 – Sandy Lane Copses Moth Night, 10 participants enjoyed viewing the 35 species that came to the 5 traps & an illuminated sheet.
Aug 10 – 1430-1730 - Broadsands Wildlife Walk 10 participants.
Aug 16 1430-1700 – Broadsands Wildlife Walk – 4 participants saw many autumn lady’s tresses orchids and a new site for water germander was discovered in an excavated Slack. 
Aug 16 2030-2230 - Sandy Lane Copses, British Naturalist’s Association moth trapping night 5, participants saw 30 species of moths that came to the 4 traps & an illuminated sheet.
Aug 19 1900-2230 - Sandy Lane, DWT local group Creatures of Dusk - 10 members viewed the flora, listened to bush crickets & bats on bat detectors followed by a moth trapping session where 30 species were identified .
Aug 20 1800-2030 – Broadsands,Crediton N.H.S., 4 members were shown specialities including water germander, round-headed club-rush & autumn lady’s tresses.
Aug 23 1900-2230 – Sandy Lane -Creatures of Dusk followed by moth trapping session was attended by 20 people. 
Aug 26 Saunton -student Lisa Sture shown buckthorn concentrations as fieldwork sites for her dissertation
Aug 28 student Victoria Garnett shown managed areas re her dissertation on management, vegetation & disturbance.
Aug 29 Sandy Lane student Frances Cheneviere was shown fieldwork sites for her A2 coursework on succession.
Aug 31 1430-1630 - Broadsands Walk Back in Time to WWII led by Dick Bass attracted 45 people who were fascinated by the stories he related of events in 1943 & ‘44. 
Sept 9 0900-1200 - Kingsacre School 30 pupils
Sept 10 1500-1800 - Andy Bell, 2 N D College lecturers & 2 international higher education visitors.
Sept 26 1000-1500 - North Devon College 60 students assisted with A level Biology fieldwork.
Sept 27 1030-1300 Henry Williamson Society, 55 members shown southern part of the Burrows with members giving readings at appropriate sites from his books.


Activities in the Buffer & Transition Zones
Sept 22 Caen Street Primary School walk to Velator & Sept 27th walk to the Beacon.
Moth trapping sessions: Knowle Water produced 41 species, Fremington Local Nature Reserve Bat & Moth night produced 2 species of bat & 18 of moth & West Down 32 moth species.

2 ILLUSTRATED TALKS ON B. B.

Sept 9 Shirwell W. I. 32 members
Sept 11 Braunton Countryside Centre 19 attendees
Sept 27 Henry Williamson Society 60 members
Oct 15 Torquay Grammar School for Girls 30 students
Oct 9 Braunton Countryside Centre - West Country Wildlife 11 attendees
Oct 17 Alverdiscott Harvest Supper 47 members

3 MANAGEMENT
Grazing
The Flats, east of the American Road are being grazed by 60 bullocks & 40 ewes. The grazing trial area has been grazed by 44 cows & calves since the end of August.

Biosphere Volunteers Conservation Tasks 
A total of at least 67.5 volunteer work days have taken place during this period.
Beach Cleans Two litter collecting tasks were undertaken from Saunton car park:-
Aug 6th 15 staff from EDF in Exeter collected litter from the beach & foredunes, covering a 1 km stretch. The types of litter were recorded on a 200M stretch of the beach as part of the MCS Adopt a Beach scheme with Cat Jones the DWT Marine Conservation Awareness Officer 
Sept 21st 30 volunteers collected litter from a 4km stretch of beach between Saunton and Old Walls & litter was recorded on a 500M stretch of beach as part of the MCS Scheme. One Transit pick up load of rubbish was taken away by the NDDC ‘Green Team’. 
Scrub clearance On 4 separate dates around three of the larger ponds on the Burrows Pond pathways were strimmed through dense bramble cover; this was essential to enable visits with guided walks & pond dipping activity days.
Tasks involving 8 regular Burrows volunteers have taken place on 26 occasions. Work has been concentrated on assisting with guided walks & educational activities, survey & monitoring tasks such as the water tables & rainfall, surveys of plants including water germander & fragrant orchid, rabbit counts & general recording of flora and fauna that included moth trapping sessions. Some volunteers worked independently, collecting & disposing of beach litter using their own 4WD transport . 

4 FLORA & FAUNA
Rare Species 
i. Sand toadflax - has thrived due to the weather pattern of wet periods & produced profuse displays of larger 
than usual plants
ii. Water germander - the surveys over the last 3 years have shown an overall decline in the number of stems (see table below). It has disappeared from D Lane and 2 other sites that are now overgrown due to 2 years without management. However, the plant has now colonised an excavated area in Twayblade Slack with a colony of 100 vigorous plants.

Year 2006 2007 2008
Stem count 59430 57031 50616


iii Small blue butterfly produced a small second brood in early August, 4 specimens seen

Observations
Vegetation growth has been exceptionally rapid this season and many regularly used paths have become overgrown and impassable. Ragwort has dramatically dominated extensive areas of the Burrows.
Aug 7 - Fragrant orchid - 171 flowering stems counted – slightly less compared with last year. 
During August autumn lady’s tresses have been found in large numbers over many short turf areas with individual colonies of up to 120. 
Ringlet butterflies were seen in exceptional numbers & good numbers of meadow brown, marbled white & dark green fritillary were seen. Opportunities to carry out moth trapping sessions were reduced by poor weather. 
Aug 28 –a gathering of c100 swallows were hawking over Partridge Slack taking it in turns to skim the pond - behaviour that has often been witnessed on guided walks with smaller numbers of birds. 
Aug 31 – a report of an injured kestrel revealed a soaking wet & chilled bird that was unable to fly, it was taken indoors for the night to dry & flew off when released the next day and was seen to immediately start hunting. 

5 RESEARCH & MONITORING

Water Tables
The monthly water table readings in 16 sites on the Burrows and rainfall readings at the White House have continued. Between July 31st & October 1st the rainfall recorded was 5110 ml. The water tables fluctuated but rose on average by 24.6cm during this period, most of this rise occurred in September (see summary table). One site, the south west Marsh Drain, remains at a constant level & in another station the water table was too low to obtain a reading until October.

Water table summary July-Sept

Month ‘08 Water table change in centimetres (cm) | No. of sites
average maximum minimum 
July +3.6 +15 +1 5
July -5.5 -19 -1 10
Aug +9 +26 +4 8
Aug -6 -15 -1 6
Sept +17.5 +32 +4 14

Rabbit Counts
Three counts have been carried out: 1 in the Training Area recorded 900 rabbits, and 2 counts in the grazing trial area recorded 59 and 150. 

6 UNDESIRABLE ACTIVITIES

Vandalism
The old interpretive sign in Sandy Lane car park has been totally burnt and several bridlepath signs around the Burrows have been damaged.The gate between Sandy Lane & the American Road north was badly damaged and has since been replaced by Landmarc.

Vehicle trespass 
Vehicles have continued to trespass on Crow Point & beach, attracting other civilian 4WD drivers to trespass on the beach. The summer boats left the area by October. 

Dogs 
The daily abuse by dog walkers has continued exacerbating the adverse effects upon the flora and the fauna and the quality of other visitors’ experience of the site. Piles of both uncovered and bagged dog faeces are concentrated around the new signs in Broadsands & Sandy Lane & at the junction of the bridlepath & Dog Lane. Many visitors with a greater respect and interest in the site have found this offputting. 
The new information boards invite dog owners to use dog bins but none are provided in Sandy Lane or Broadsands!

7 PUBLICITY
The 3 new Information Boards were regularly updated with programmes and posters advertising events. News releases were mailed to the local papers who published them for several events. Handouts and posters advertising events were produced and circulated to various local venues. Temporary direction signs for events at Broadsands were placed at the toll road entrance & the White House slipway before & removed after events

The Burrows display boards & interactive exhibits were manned at the following functions
Aug 25 Wistlandpound Centre Open Day
Sept26/27 Barnstaple Henry Williamson Society meeting & talk 
Oct 5 Eggesford Garden Centre Wildlife Day
Oct 11/12 Barnstaple St John’s Garden Centre Wildlife Weekend

8 SANDY LANE CAR PARK 
The gates to the entrance of the American Road & the car park have been repaired, they have been left open & the public continue to use the car park. 
9 SAFETY
Unrepaired potholes at the entrance and 400 M north on the tarmac road leading to Sandy Lane car park have caused damage to some cars - the latter pothole is particularly dangerous when water filled, especially to cyclists.

J M Breeds, 
Braunton Burrows Education Warden, 
Oct 20th 2008