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

Recent Events and Projects

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 had an evening pulling Balsam in Ox Close Wood

The Scouts produced enormous piles of pulled Balsam

The Scouts produced enormous piles of pulled Balsam

Doncaster Naturalists visited East Keswick to see our Thistle Brromrape and Herb Paris.

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 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 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.

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.

Yellow Hammer along Moor Lane, photographed by Howard.

Another of the day's sidelines was this magnificent Emporer Dragonfly

Another of the day’s sidelines was this magnificent Emporer Dragonfly

Cutting and raking thick vegetation on the track into the Ellikers.

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.

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.

Fencing in progress in the Marsh so that livestock can be used later in the year to graze overwhelming vegetation.

Family Work Party

Creating the clearing in Elliker Wood

Creating the clearing in Elliker Wood

On 28th November 2015, families joined us in The Ellikers to clear an area to allow light to penetrate to ground level to encourage wild flowers to grow and also into which hazel will be planted.

 

Children's dens

Children’s dens

 

While children made dens for themselves and their teddies!

The amphibians in our village ponds

As part of the 10 year recording project, we surveyed ponds in village gardens in March. All but two ponds contained frogspawn, overall, 70 clumps of frogspawn were found. Also found were an assortment of snails, nymphs and water boatmen, leeches, common newts and frogs.

Pond dipping

Pond dipping

There is a second survey on 28th June. Check out the details in the events section above.

 

Making Bird Boxes

On 15th March, families and friends assembled pre-prepared kits for 20 tree sparrows nest boxes.

Starting young--  Lucy and Poppy made and took two boxes home for their gardens

Starting young– Lucy and Poppy made and took home two boxes for their gardens

With a hole size of 28mm, the boxes are designed for use by Tree Sparrows.

The Tree Sparrow isbird boxes 2 (FILEminimizer) one of our many farmland birds that have declined in numbers by up to 95% since 1970 because of changes in farming practices. Others include Lapwing, Grey Partridge and Skylark. Modern farming methods have caused degradation of habitat and loss of foods for wintering adults and developing chicks.