Good week, bad week

Stirling NNRs

The Stirling NNRs team have had a difficult last 7 days so let’s play good week, bad week.

Bad week

Yesterday at Flanders Moss we found that over the weekend someone had decided to drive their very large but ineffective 4WD over the wildflower meadow. They promptly got stuck and made a very big mess getting themselves out. To get material to put under the tyres they smashed up one of the picnic tables. I might have quite liked to have discovered a large BMW wedged in the car park and spent a few minutes imagining what I might have said and done. But instead Steve applied his usual magic in repairing the picnic bench and we have to try to patch up the meadow. It is very frustrating when I think of all of the effort put in by our volunteers over the years to manage the meadow and the pleasure it has brought visitors to Flanders Moss.

Good week

The annoyance of the meadow damage was shortly offset but the pleasure of a hen harrier roost count. No hen harriers but a beautiful 1 1/2 hour spent on the top of the tower enjoying the beautiful moss in end of day fine weather and attended by a cast of peregrines, ravens, fieldfares and redwings, pink-footed geese and greylags.

Bad week

The discovery in Blawhorn car park of the scattered debris of a large firework display. There isn’t anything much more disturbing on a nature reserve than a large number of fireworks being set off and the resulting rubbish. Some were even nailed to a tree. An uncooperative strimmer only made the visit less productive.

Good week

On the visit to Blawhorn the team met a local resident who was able to tell them just how important Blawhorn Moss is to them. As a place to escape from the stresses of the current situation and to recovery from personal losses Blawhorn, perhaps one of our smallest and less well know NNRs, has been absolutely essential to this one person. Hearing this reminder of the good these reserve do is almost as important to us as the reserve is to this visitor.

Bad week

A large trailer of garden rubbish was dumped in a ditch on the access track to Flanders. Unsightly and a causing a problem from introducing invasive non-native plant species to a native ecosystem, it illustrates the lack of respect and value that a few people put on these special sites.

Good week

A quality afternoon spent clearing up cut gorse and planning future fencing works at Ballangrew meadow on Flanders Moss. We were lucky with the weather and we took the opportunity to recharge batteries with nature after a challenging week, and brush up on our lower plant id skills.

Bad week

Our workshop / store was broken into on Tuesday night and a lot of our power tools stolen. Not only does it stop us doing important work for nature on the reserves until we have replaced them but also there is a huge amount of work and budget involved with dealing with the situation and the aftermath.

Good week

In the current situation of outdoor, socially distant meetings we have built ourselves an outdoor meeting space at zero cost. Reusing stone recovered from an old path and the drum from my old washing machine as a fire pit, we are now set up for long and drawn out planning and review meetings that might also involve marshmallows and sausages. We are even happy to trent out this space to others. In the future we also have plans to make this space better for wildlife as well, so watch this space.

We are very lucky to do our jobs but there can be difficult days. We don’t do it for the money and we are out in all weathers and times (this morning some of the team started at 05:30 in the pouring rain for a goose roost count). But there are always good times to be had, special places to work and fine wildlife to see.

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7 Responses to Good week, bad week

  1. veggiegrower says:

    That is terrible about the wildflower meadow. Really upset.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne says:

    I can feel my hackles rising reading the ‘bad’ parts of this report. We probably encounter this loutish behaviour everywhere. What is wonderful is the knowledge that natural places such as the ones you are looking after play an important role in the mental and physical well-being of people who use them, especially during this pandemic. I walked through a section of open land yesterday morning and returned feeling far more energised than I do after walking along the streets of our neighbourhood.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Good week, bad week at Flanders Moss – Thornhill Community Website

  4. peigimccann says:

    One of the main reasons I come to Scotland as often as I do is to visit Flanders Moss. The town in which I live here in California had one of the state’s only bogs until it was harvested and filled in during the 1960s and now is a trailer park. David and all the others who put their hearts and souls into Flanders Moss and its well-being cannot be thanked enough for saving it from the fate of our bog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Heather Kinnin says:

    So sorry for your troubles Dave. Especially at my beloved Blawhorn , which I’ve not been able to get to this year. Just remember that for every idiot damaging an NNR there are hundreds of us grateful for what you do looking after them. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Philip Graves says:

    Sorry to hear about all the damage. Quite a few of us helped out with the meadow – it will recover but another reminder that there are a few selfish idiots out there, not just in the White House! Is it worth putting in a camera trap?
    Mugdock Country Park had a break-in on the night of the 15/16th and quad bikes, machinery, tractors were stolen. And we had some mammoth informal firework parties as well, though I’ve not seen much evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

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