The built up environments of East Keswick benefit birds

On the 18th February we held our annual winter bird survey and recorded 53 species of birds. No Curlew or Lapwings were seen this year but new for the winter bird survey were Little Owl, Mute Swan and Blackcap. The Blackcap is usually regarded as a summer visitor but, with recent warmer winters, our local birds are able to remain in the area along with others that have migrated southwards from the north.

The RSPB’s State of Nature Report, 2016, states 56% of UK species are in decline. We have found that the built-up areas of our villages their gardens, hedgerows, trees and flowers provide valuable habitats for these declining species. In fact, our ten years of annual bird recording have shown that we have a good variety of bird species in the village. This is in contrast to the surrounding area’s intensively farmed land. Whilst some landowners are sympathetic, modern farming practices provide little in the way of suitable habitat, food or shelter.

2017/18 Winter Bird Survey

Our Summer Bird Survey is on 17th June. Please join us. Check out the Upcoming Events box above.

 

New hotel opens in East Keswick!

Over 50 people spent a glorious sunny afternoon on Saturday constructing a bug hotel under the guidance of East Keswick Wildlife Trust.
The event was hosted by East Keswick Methodist Church on Main Street, East Keswick, with the luxury accommodation for insects being built in the garden behind the church. Melanie Smith from East Keswick Wildlife Trust explained the importance of creating suitable habitat so that the vast variety of insects we are lucky enough to have can thrive. The children then used various natural materials to make a five storey, five star hotel for insects.

Melanie said “It was wonderful to see how enthusiastic the children were and we hope they will go home and make similar habitats in their own gardens.”

After the hotel had been built, the families enjoyed refreshments before tackling a nature hunt. The bug hotel is the first event of many in a programme to create a wildlife haven at the rear of the church involving the local community. The next joint event is a wildflower identification walk on 10 June and then, in the Autumn, seeds will be gathered and sown in pots so that young plants are ready to plant out next Spring to create a wildflower garden. Members of the public are most welcome to visit the garden at any time.

Children creating the bug hotel

For future family events please check out the list of Upcoming Events (above), and to view the article in the village newsletter website visit http://www.eastkeswick.org.uk/latest-news/745-new-hotel-opens-for-bugs

Volunteers relaxing at Elliker Wood

Lunch in Elliker Wood

Much work has been done recently at Elliker Field and Wood. Now that the cows are removed from the field this has been cut and raked.

The log store (just out to the right of the picture) is completed and we plan to create a pond in the field into which rainwater run-off from the roof will be directed.

Elliker log store. Processed wood is in the crates on the left. Logs on the right are yet to process.

 

 

Cows in Ox Close Wood

For the first time since the 18th century, cows are grazing in Ox Close Wood!

The cows will graze the paddock for a few weeks after which they will go to another reserve to continue their conservation grazing.

Once part of the Common lands of EastKeswick, Ox Close was a wood pasture where wood and timber could be cut and extracted during the winter months and animals grazed during the summer by the Commoners of the village – usually the most prominent residents. By the end of the 18th century, the management of Common lands was deemed inefficient so increasing numbers of individual parish Parliamentary Enclosure Acts were passed to provide the legal framework for privatisation. All Commoners rights to graze in Ox Close ceased at the beginning of 19th century on the enclosure of East Keswick when the wood became part of the Harewood Estate.

The photos show three cows, each with a calf being let into the  wood. Because Clarita (below) has horns, she had to be transported separated from her calf and separately from the other cows.

Clarita walks out of the trailer, looking for her friends.

 

All six cows and calves are in the photo.

The Yellow Fish Campaign Gathers Momentum

The Trust has continued its work with Bardsey Primary School to spread the word about the Environment Agency’s Yellow Fish Campaign. With the slogan “Only Rain Down the Drain” the campaign is designed to indicated to people that any substance that is put into a surface water drain goes straight into our local becks and then on into the River Wharfe.
The local becks are in poor condition mainly from agricultural run off. But we can do our bit: In order to raise awareness Bardsey School stencilled a yellow fish next to surface water drains, posted explanitory notes into surrounding homes and talked to residents; some of whom were relatives of the children!

“Only Rain Down the Drain!”

Hi Grandma. Did you know…..?

In July, the Trust ran another successful course with Flora Locale on woodland management to improve biodiversity. The photos show the group looking at the newly created coppice coupe in Elliker Wood and discussing the fluctuating water temperatures in the River Wharfe

Flora Locale, July 2017

Flora Locale on the River Wharfe, July 2017

Collingham Becks

During the past year, the Trust has assisted the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust in monitoring the pollution in the streams of the Collingham, East Keswick and Bardsey catchment area. Our samples confirm the Environment Agency’s earlier findings that these water courses are indeed highly polluted. Some articles refer to the beck as “Collingham Drain”!

Water sample tests from East Keswick beck showing high levels of pollution.

Most of the pollution comes from agricultural run off, but we can help… see the next post. Additional assistance that the Trust has provided has been helping plant trees and hedges along the stream sides.