Wardens, wildlife and wildfires! Part 2
Hello, me again, continuing on from yesterday! As I was saying, anyone can help protect heathland birds and aid their conservation by limiting disturbance during this sensitive time when they’re raising their young. This can easily be achieved just by staying on main paths while visiting heathland and areas of open vegetation. This includes any dogs we may have with us. Remember: Paws on paths please. The presence of these birds provides protection to the wider habitat, which in turn we’re able to enjoy.
There’s so much wildlife on heathlands, in summer it’s practically abuzz with life. Watch and listen to the impressive flight displays of dragonflies, such as the Emperor Dragonfly, as they hunt for food. Those with a keen eye, and patience, may spot the cryptically camouflaged Grayling butterfly. Keep a close eye to the ground as well because you may spot the Green Tiger beetle, or the rare Heath Tiger beetle, and a flash of green may be a Sand Lizard. And we mustn’t forget the heather coming into flower, the namesake of the heathland habitat.
The last thing I want to leave you with is a warning regarding wildfires and how you can help prevent them.
Heathland is a habitat at high risk of wildfires as it’s a very dry habitat and vegetation in the summer is highly flammable. Needless to say, wildfires can cause huge damage, destroying large areas of precious habitat and reaping large numbers of wildlife, and potentially dealing local populations of rare wildlife a devastating blow. Any survivors lose their means of cover, leaving them vulnerable to predators. Of course, a fire can also pose a serious threat to human safety too.
Terrible situations like these can be prevented if we are wildfire aware. The main thing to remember is to never light any fires, or bring sources of fire onto heathland. If you see a fire, however small, please call the Fire Service using 999 immediately, after ensuring your own safety. Apps like what3words can help you provide an accurate location to the Fire Service.
Speed of response is imperative, although local services have site-specific firefighting plans in place and will respond with urgency, fires can spread fast and quickly become out of control.
Thank you for reading, please do enjoy the heathlands we have on our doorsteps responsibly, and remember to wear your sunscreen and stay hydrated in the hot summer days!