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.
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
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.
30 Bardsey Cubs and Scouts joined forces to Bash the Balsam along Keswick Beck. Many thanks to all those who took part to make the event so successful.
Preparations for Balsam Bashing
In the thick of it Balsam Bashing. The plants are flowering and the seed pods will not be far behind so it was a good time to pull the plants.
Yellow Fish is a national Environment Agency project involving stencilling a Yellow Fish symbol beside surface water drains to remind us all that any waste entering them may go directly to the nearest stream, river, lake, canal, beach or bathing water, causing pollution and killing wildlife. Car washing solutions, engine oil, paints, chemical wastes, detergents and even litter entering these drains pollute our watercourses. Pollution can also be caused by ‘misconnected’ household pipework, where foul waste from toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, showers, baths and sinks can enter surface water drains.
The Trust is working with Bardsey Primary School on the Yellow Fish Campaign to raise awareness so do look out for the Yellow Fish symbol highlighting drains which feed directly into the beck. Be aware that, any fluid that goes into a surface water drain, whether it has a yellow fish logo or not, goes into the beck.
Only Rain Down the Drain
During the winter months, the eastern boundary of Ox Close wood has been cut back. Trees that were overhanging the field have been removed or trimmed back to allow more light to the field edge thereby benefitting any growing crops. To maintain a boundary a new hedge has been planted along this side of the wood. Thanks go to The Woodland Trust for supplying the plants, guards and supports.
Planting the new hedge
Planting the new hedge
During March, a group of Trust volunteers visited some Duke of Burgundy butterfly sites to do a bit of habitat maintenance. The food plants of this butterfly are Primroses and Cowslips. Scrub was cleared to allow light to penetrate to the ground to allow these plants, primroses in particular, to thrive.
Habitat management for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly
Following this work members, along with other conservationists, returned in May to see the fruits of their labours and were rewarded with sightings of twenty adult Duke of Burgundy butterflies. Other butterflies seen were five Dingy Skippers, a Small Copper and a Red Admiral.
Robert Parkes organised a site visit to see the Duke of Burgundy Butterfly
One the 3rd May we had our annual bluebell walk in Ox Close Wood. There’s always a bit of guesswork in planning the walk six months ahead in the hope that the flowers will be at their best. This year we got it spot on and the flowers were glorious. On average, during the 25 years of the Trust’s existence, this event has moved forward by two weeks!
Four or five years of cutting the bracken here has reduced its vigour allowing the bluebells to put on a fine display
The path at the eastern end of the wood
Work has started on the construction of a log store in Elliker Wood. We plan to move most of the log piles (others are habitat piles) from Elliker Wood and some from Ox Close so that the logs can season for a couple of years under cover before they are used. We intend to start selling logs to the community in the autumn of 2017.
Constructing the log store
Photos of recent events and projects. Click on an image to enlarge it.
The Scouts had an evening pulling Balsam in Ox Close Wood
The Scouts produced enormous piles of pulled Balsam
Doncaster Naturalists visited East Keswick to see our Thistle Brromrape and Herb Paris.
The Trust liaises with Natural England: Michelle Dickinson from Natural England inspected the status of Keswick Fitts SSSI
The Trust’s walk to Liz Parr’s Wood near Plumpton was enjoyed by all.
The Summer Bird Survey saw a total of 44 bird species on the day. These included wonderful views of Yellow Hammers and Grey Wagtails.
Yellow Hammer along Moor Lane, photographed by Howard.
Another of the day’s sidelines was this magnificent Emporer Dragonfly
Cutting and raking thick vegetation on the track into the Ellikers.
Controlling Dogs Mercury year 1 after opening the rides in Elliker Wood. We hope cutting and raking will weaken it to prevent it shading out native plants.
Fencing in progress in the Marsh so that livestock can be used later in the year to graze overwhelming vegetation.