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Rue des Bergers
This small reserve is hidden away on a corner of La Rue des Bergers and is partof the larger Grande Mare area. It was a wet, overgrown meadow, which had a largepond dug in it in 1993 to attract wetland birds. This hasbeenvery successful, and there are two hides on the site, as well as BarnOwl and Kestrel nestboxes, which are regularly used. A smaller, shallow pondhas been created recently, with the aim of attracting more dragonflies, as thisisprobablythebest areain the island for these fascinating insects.
Along the northern and western sides are areas of reedbed, which are importantfor several species of birds such as Reed Warblers and Snipe. Old Sallowbushesaround the perimeters also provide useful shelter for resident and migrant birds.
The flora above the pond area is rich and diverse, containing many wet meadowspecies such as Square-stalked St John's-Wort, Bog Stitchwort, Ragged Robin, Loose-floweredOrchid and SouthernMarsh Orchid, as well as many interesting species of rush and sedge. Thisarea is also amazingly rich in insects particularly beetles and flies; over 40species of Dolichopodid flies have been recorded here.
Two invasive fresh-water alien plant species, which were accidentally introduced to the pond, are a problemonthisreserve. Parrot's Feathers Myriophyllumaquaticum, and New Zealand Pygmy-weed Crassula helmsii are both veryrampant in shallow water, competing with native water plants, and even spreadingonto wet land and smothering small plants, as well as the mosses and liverwortswhich enjoy this habitat. They are extremely difficult to control, and this isthe only situation on our reserves where we have been forced to use chemicalsto try and save the habitat, but we have now given up this approach. With constantvigilance, we hope we are winning! The Myriophyllum has apparently beeneliminated after smothering it with old carpets, the Crassula is stillpresent but in less quantity.
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Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1UG, Channel Islands.