Gorse burning on Carsehall

Over the last few years we’ve been working hard to prevent gorse encroachment from Carsehall Bog.  There is considerable botanical interest here, including an excellent colony of Lesser-butterfly Orchid, so we are keen to ensure that the quality of habitat is maintained to promote the rich biodiversity at one of the largest areas of land within the National Nature Reserve.

Lesser-butterfly Orchid

Lesser-butterfly Orchid

With the fire started, Alan took the opportunity to practice his waltz steps with his imaginary dance partner...

With the fire started, Alan took the opportunity to practice his waltz steps with his imaginary dance partner…

It’s been a long task, but we’re glad to say there has been a massive improvement in terms of habitat quality on Carsehall, with orchid numbers rising and the spread of gorse being dramatically reduced.  This has been thanks in no small part to local contractor Dave Mackie and his staff, who have cut and treated the stumps, and various groups coming in for a day’s work over the years including the YMCA Prince’s Trust group from Perth and assorted local volunteers.

Whooper Swans gave us a constant whooping chorus throughout the day- a record Loch Leven count of 804 has been recorded this year.

Whooper Swans gave us a constant whooping chorus throughout the day- a record Loch Leven count of 804 has been recorded this year.

Last week we set out with regular volunteers David and Alan to gather together some of the cut gorse in preparation for the arrival of a group of HNC Countryside Management students from Elmwood College, who were learning more about the management of Loch Leven NNR during a morning walk and talk with reserve manager Neil.

Lunch time before the work starts

Lunch time before the work starts

As a bonus they were also treated to excellent views of the Great Northern Diver as it was reported for the first time that Wednesday morning by volunteer Ivor Mashford (many thanks once again for the tip Ivor!).  Incidentally, the GND has been visible every day from Burleigh since being reported last week, and is a rarity at inland water bodies, so you may want to go and have a look for it while it’s still hanging about.

David provides the group with some direction toward new patches of gorse to be collected

David provides the group with some direction toward new patches of gorse to be collected

Nature was trying to do it’s bit by re-cycling the dead wood.  Various species of fungi were spotted during the gorse gathering process.  It almost seems wrong to be burning it when such incredible organisms are thriving.  It is possible to find these particular species in any woodland near you.

Purple Jellydisc?

Purple Jellydisc?

Yellow Brain

Yellow Brain

Candlesnuff Fungus

Candlesnuff Fungus

Unknown spp.

Unknown spp.

Bundles of gorse were brought in thick and fast

Bundles of gorse were brought in thick and fast

The latest Elmwood College visit continues what has been a long-standing working relationship between Loch Leven NNR and the college, established and maintained by lecturer Stuart MacDonald, who was on hand once again to help out with his students.  Many thanks to Stuart and all the Elmwood students for their help last week.  We have recruited a volunteer from the group already that will be joining us next week.  If anyone else would be keen to help out in the future, then please get in touch through the reserve office or on the blog.

Group shot!

Group shot!

About Craig.Nisbet

Reserve Officer Loch Leven National Nature Reserve Scottish Natural Heritage
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One Response to Gorse burning on Carsehall

  1. Pingback: Whooper swan and ibis on Vlieland island | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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