On 15th March, families and friends assembled pre-prepared kits for 20 tree sparrows nest boxes.
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 is 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.
To further increase the biodiversity of uncommon wild flowers in Ox Close wood, we have again been plug planting in the grazing pasture. The plants were grown in the Trusts own wild flower nursery from seed that was collected locally.
About half of the wood was clear felled in 1992 by its previous owners. Until then, this area of the wood consisted of non-native conifers that shaded the ground so much that very little was left of whatever seed bank might have been present. Consequently the area that is now kept open by conservation grazing has a poor range of wild flowers which we are hoping to rectify.
This time, to deter the deer from jumping over wire fences, the posts have been angled inwards and the tops of the mesh netting has been laced with string.
Species that have been planted include Betony, Rock Rose, Aquilegia, and Ladies Bedstraw.
Fenced off area with plug plants of wild flowers
On 27th February, our Friday volunteers enjoyed a sunny day to finish hedge planting along one of the Keswick Marsh boundaries. The hedge is 70 to 80% Hawthorn with the remainder made up of six or seven other hedging plant species such as Hazel, Spindle, Holly, Blackthorn and Buckthorn. Since the hedge in the Marsh, hedging in Elliker Field has been completed.
Enjoying the fruits of our labour
The Trust had the first of its twice-yearly bird surveys on 22nd February. As well as surveying the birds that over-winter in the parish there is another walk round the parish during the summer to survey birds that breed locally. This survey is not yet planned…. keep an eye on “Upcoming Events”.
Trust members watching Grey-lag Geese at a local pond.
The weather was blustery, cool and initially dry. Setting off from the Church on Moor Lane at 10.00am, we were able to walk round most of the parish before it started to rain in the early afternoon so we decided to forego the pleasure of surveying Ox Close wood where, no doubt, we would have added to our list.
The total number of species seen on the day was a respectable 47 (there are many more bird species locally but we record only those we see on the day). This included up to 400 Black Headed Gulls in a stubble field near Eask Keswick Beck and 60 to 70 Meadow Pipits plus half a dozen Linnets an arable field to the side of Moor Lane.