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Ranger Report March 2016
1) Biological survey & monitoring
Squirrels – We had a clean bill of health on the last 10 samples sent off in September 2015 for squirrel pox virus testing. There are no samples being collected at present. Volunteers are managing and monitoring four dual feeder boxes to try and confirm if there are anything other than grey squirrels using them. This round will finish at the end of April 2016.
Butterflies – UKBMS transect survey training cannot be delivered by the Ranger Service this year due to lack of staff. Butterfly Conservation are taking on Fallin Bing and Wester Moss. Hopefully some of our experienced survey volunteers can continue this in the Country Park. Survey starts on 1st April.
Orchids – The meadows were not cut at all this October due to being at a point in the cycle where they do not require cutting in order to follow the regime informed by the previous 6 years of zone management. The ultimate aim is to get sheep on to graze for a few months in the winter, but this will need considered preparation before going ahead. It would be a cheaper, and more environmentally friendly method of managing these meadows.
South Drive – following a period of extremely wet weather, the south drive was washed out and required extensive repairs. This resulted in new culverts being added, ditches being cleared out, reinforcements added to the burn, diversion of a ditch being added to a new concrete drain, a new pond being created and hundreds of metres of re-surfacing, with a large saving due to the washed out materials being reused in addition to new materials.
Carvings – Three large carvings agreed so far, and several small animal carvings to act as ‘sentinals’ to the new play area.
Signage – a resurrection of the signage revamp has been requested.
Ranger events - Reed beds and Orchard maintenance both carried out this year so far. Due to lack of staff (Jennifer being on crutches until 1st August and light duties until Feb 2017), FoPCP may need to lead on a couple of events.
Cani Cross – Sunday 20th March, two races of humans running with dogs from 10am to 12pm, posters to inform visitors have been out along the routes for a week now. FoPCP stall to fund raise.
Stirling Bike Club – have been in touch to enquire about running an event in August.
Branching Out began their 12 week programme in the Park again in February and will finish in May. They will return in September with a new group for another 12 weeks. This is the third year they have been using the Park and assisting us with various conservation tasks. This session they have carried out rhododendron bashing in order to reveal the WW1 trench feature better. In April they plan to remove more tree tubes by the WW1 oven, weed the Gamekeeper’s cottage ruin, and in May to clear the crescent-shaped soakaway at the bottom of the main meadow of vegetation, to better reveal this feature.