With the first sunshine of April comes the start of the survey season in Southall. Work has already started on butterfly and bumblebee monitoring at Minet Country Park, with records including small tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies as well as four of the common bumblebee species and one species of solitary bee, the hairy-footed flower bee. Numbers are low at the moment, which is probably a result of the unpredictable weather we have been experiencing, but are expected to pick up as the season progresses.
Currently, only Minet Country Park is surveyed for bumblebees and butterflies but this year transects will also be set up at Wolf Fields to allow us to gauge the health of bee and butterfly populations on the site in addition to the completion of a botanical survey. The data we compile from these surveys will be compared to the baseline data collected in 2013 and 2014 which will allow us to see how the ongoing management at Wolf Fields is affecting the biodiversity on the site.
Over March and April A Rocha UK’s conservation intern has been volunteering on the London Wildlife Trust’s “Vole Patrol” scheme, to assist with data collection on small mammal populations over several sites in West London. Notable catches included a yellow-necked mouse in Long Wood in Southall and a pygmy shrew at Denham Lock Woods in Hillingdon. It is hoped that small mammal surveys can be undertaken at Wolf Fields this year. All the data collected will contribute to an annual report on the biodiversity at Wolf Fields and will be used to influence future management plans for the site.