Conservation & Wildlife
Monitoring wildlife is necessary to inform the management plans of 1,200 species of flora and fauna which have been recorded in and around North Berwick. Volunteers make monthly counts of shorebirds as part of the national Birds of the Estuaries enquiry. Along the coast, breeding eider ducks are monitored by volunteers organised by the East Lothian ranger service. Bee and butterfly transects are carried out while volunteers also monitor breeding songbirds in the Lodge and Glen. The countryside ranger co-ordinates conservation tasks and feeds results into local authority management plans and the Lothians Wildlife information Centre. Bat and bird boxes have been erected in the Glen and are checked by appropriate licence holders. In one part of the town a pond is a breeding site for the specially protected great crested newts and volunteers check nearby drains to rescue any trapped amphibians.
Several members of NBIB take part in SOS Puffin to cut down non-native tree mallow on islands in the Forth estuary. The ranger-led volunteer group works once a month on the Law, Glen and Coos' Green, assisted by NBIB volunteers. Tasks include removing ragwort to safeguard a group of Exmoor ponies which carry out conservation grazing; tree planting and protection, removing non-native plants. In conjunction with the council’s arboriculture team non-native sycamore has been reduced to create a more diverse habitat for birds and small mammals on the Greenheads bankings.
Reducing mowing to one cut each in autumn on part of Coos' Green has created a 2 ha wildflower meadow with up to 30 species of flowering plants, all of which were in the ground but suppressed. Wild orchids have increased in damper spots with over 600 spikes of Northern Marsh orchid and 45 spikes of Common Spotted orchid. A native plants bed at the Seabird Centre is planted with wildflowers that flourish on local coasts and demonstrate the value of native plants.
Local golf courses are also managed on environmentally friendly principles whose aim is to maintain turf that is adapted to our relatively dry and windswept conditions. Irrigation and applications of fertilisers and chemicals are kept to a minimum. The path verges and rough at the edge of the fairways continue to provide a habitat for a range of wild flowers, insects and birdlife.