Sep 26 2019

Wildlife Monitoring in the South East

Monitoring wildlife on the Woodland Trust estate is incredibly important.  It can help to inform our management of the site, contribute to national databases tracking population trends, and consequently lead to positive change in policy and practice to benefit wildlife.  It is therefore essential that the data collected by our volunteers finds its way back to us and in a form that we can use.   For this reason we recommend you use the mobile app iRecord to record your wildlife sightings.  iRecord makes it easier for records to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making at local and national levels.  Each record has core information stored with it, such as geographical location, which makes it of great use.


If you don’t own a smart phone, we can alternatively provide a spreadsheet for you to add your records and send back to your volunteer manager.  Whichever works for you – but please do send us your data!


With 48 active Wildlife Monitors in the South East, it is no surprise there have been a number of rare species noted at sites across the estate.  Thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers, we can share a volunteer story and a few pictures of notable species recorded for the first time this year.


Weasel’s Snout – Misopates orontium

By Tish Johnson, Lead Volunteer at Langley Vale Wood

Weasel’s Snout. Staus: Amber – vulnerable and near-threatened. Photo credit: Tish Johnson

12 July and the Arable Plant Group were out and about at Langley Vale Wood for the second of their summer training days, honing their plant identification skills.  It was a lovely sunny day and after some initial talk about the plant list and looking at the maps we headed out to a margin we’ve not had great success surveying before because it has been quite overgrown in previous years.  However, this year maybe due to the ploughing and the recent heavy rain after a dry spring, combined with grazing animals we started to have some great find as soon as we entered the field.


Then the shout went up, ‘what’s this?’  The experts in the group immediately said Weasel’s Snout!  Well it’s a first for Langley Vale Wood and just goes to show that the management team are doing something right if these little gems are growing here.  It has not been recorded at the site before.  It has an Important Arable Plant Area (IAPA) score of 7 as defined by Plantlife which means it is pretty rare and makes Langley Vale Wood of International importance as far as arable plants are concerned.



So why the strange name?  Well, of course, it is only when you get down to details and start looking with an eye glass that you see a long-nosed face looking at you at the seedhead stage of growth.  So many of these old arable plants and wild flowers have lovely common names and I hope it will make it easier for me to remember in the future, as we add yet another name, to the ever growing list of rare plants at Langley Vale Wood in the open spaces we are working so hard to protect.

Red Hemp Nettle. Galeopsis angustifolia. Status: Red – endangered & critically endangered. Photo credit: Paul Curtis

Ground Pine. Ajuga chamaepitys. Photo credit Paul Curtis

Dwarf Spurge. Euphorbia exigua. Photo credit: Linda Pitkin

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