Harvest Mouse Nest Survey

Robert and Ann from the West Yorkshire Mammal Group joined us for our harvest mouse nest survey at Fitts Fields.
Families enjoyed looking at the base of large tufts of grass for the nests. None were found, but we did find lots of field vole nests.
In October Ann and Robert will be joining us again and setting Longworth humane traps to try and observe a variety of small mammals.

Family Hedge Planting Event – a success!

The family hedge and woodland tree planting days in January at the Fitts Lane reserve had a great turnout, particularly on the Sunday, when approximately 30 people of all ages were there.

We planted a mixture of 20 species including blackthorn, willow, field maple, rowan, crab apple, alder and hawthorn to name a few.
We then enjoyed sausages cooked on the campfire and a chance to sit and chat.

A big thank you to everyone who came to help and planted hedgerows that will be a haven for wildlife for years to come!

Dry Stone Wall

Anyone visiting the Fitts Reserve will notice that there’s been a lot of work clearing the boundaries in order to install stock fencing. In amongst the vegetation we came across a pair of very old stone gate posts with many nearby dressed stones in and on the ground.

In order to make use of the stones we decided to have a go at creating a dry stone wall with results shown below. By coincidence, as we were making the wall a chap walking down the path mentioned that many years ago there was a stone-built field bothy… probably used to store tools.

It was satisfying to be able to put these stones to good use again.

Dry stone wall built from old dressed stones found on and in the ground

January Event 2022

Since the trust took over our new site at Fitts Lane, our Friday volunteer work party has been working hard towards restoring the valuable grassland habitat.

Much of this work has been preparing boundaries; fencing and hedge planting. To provide a much-needed boost to this effort, and to introduce members to the new site, the work being done and what we hope to achieve; this month we are holding two family hedge planting days at the Fitts Lane site in East Keswick (the fields on the footpath to the river from the end of Cleavesty Lane) during January, Sunday 16th and Saturday 22nd.

The days will start at 10am and we will be there as long as we keep going! Any time that can be given is welcomed and contributes to the overall team effort, so please come along at, and for, a time that suits you.

The work itself is great for kids – with tasks suitable for all ages. We find they generally enjoy planting the whips and protecting them with canes and guards – leaving the older ones to dig the holes! And it’s great for them to see the growth of the hedges over the years to follow – something to be proud to have been part of.

We will also take the opportunity to explain the work we are doing there, plans for the site and how the trust use the Dexter cattle for conservation grazing, and (for the kids) the importance of worms! We will also have BBQs lit and available for use – an opportunity to learn about the charcoal making we undertake in Ox Close Woods, whilst you cook some sausages to keep energy levels up.

What you will need:

  • Gloves
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Your own food to cook on the BBQ (or a packed lunch) and a drink
  • If possible, a spade

If you need help finding us, you can contact Corinne on 07582 561749 or Thomasin on 07944 951605. It would be helpful if you let us know if you are planning to attend, but not essential.

We will cancel the events if the ground is frozen or there is heavy rain. We will notify people in advance via our Facebook page (search for East Keswick Wildlife Trust) if we do need to cancel.

We hope to see you there!

Lockdown Challenge

Where the wild things are:

Lockdown challenge!

We’ve created an educational challenge for you all to take part in.

We’ve hidden 30 images of a wide range of wildlife across our four reserves.

Your challenge is to find them. Once you do, you will find a folder close by which contains information sheets about the species you have found. Where to find the wild things:

  • Ox Close woods: 15 to find
  • Elliker’s field & wood: 6 to find
  • Frank Shire’squarry: 4 to find
  • East Keswick Marsh: 5 to find

On each sheet you will see a key word at the top. The first 10 people to message us all 30 of the key words will each win a tree to plant! This is a great excuse to get out walking enjoying nature, explore our reserves & learn. We ask that you take one sheet per group please, and zip up the folder,- returning it to where it was found. You are welcome to take the sheets home with you, or leave them for others to use if you wish. We would mention also, if you take your dogs along with you to please remember these are nature reserves so to keep them on leads please. If you need any further information, for example where to find some of the reserves please message us. We really hope you enjoy exploring the wild places where we live, remember to leave only footprints..good luck hunting! 🦊🦡🐝🌼🦋

Supporting wildlife conservation in your local area has never been more important so please do join the Trust & become a member! You can join at: https://www.ekwt.org.uk/get-involved/membership/

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Weekend Workparty

For those who are unable to join us on Fridays, on the Sundays of 1st December and 2nd February we will be holding Weekend Workparties. Families included.
Tasks will include hedge planting and making brash piles. Please bring a snack, gloves, suitable clothing and footwear.

Meet in Crabtree Lane car park at 10am. For further information, contact melanie@ekwt.org.uk

Summer Bird Survey

A small group, six adults and two children, made the usual tour of the parish looking for as many bird species as could be identified; both by sight and call.
It has been very noticeable that there have been very few Swallows this year. They migrate to Britain over the Sahara from South Africa and travel in daylight up to 200 miles a day.
Being such a small bird they are sensitive to changes and can be affected badly by storms, very dry or very wet conditions and food availability. Their reduced numbers have been been noted throughout Europe.
On the other hand, there were a good number of Wrens calling all around the parish. It’s likely that the relatively mild winter has aided their survival rate.

A total of 42 species were identified (in the order they were seen or heard)….

  • House Sparrow
  • Robin
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Red Kite
  • Starling
  • Lapwing
  • Blackbird
  • House Martin
  • Rook
  • Dunnock
  • Blue Tit
  • Swift
  • Magpie
  • Chaffinch
  • Chiff Chaff
  • Yellow Hammer
  • Wren
  • Crow
  • Buzzard
  • Pheasant
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Tree Sparrow
  • Jackdaw
  • Greater Spotted Woodpecker
  • Swallow
  • Skylark
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Mallard
  • Moorhen
  • Curlew
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Goldcrest
  • Goldfinch
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Song Thrush
  • Reed Bunting
  • Jay
  • Great Tit
  • Blackcap
  • Greenfinch
  • Coal Tit

The next (Winter) bird survey will take place in early 2020, the date of which will be arranged this Autumn. Keep an eye on Forthcoming Events above and in the next Newsletter.