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.
Photos of recent events and projects. Click on an image to enlarge it.
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.
While children made dens for themselves and their teddies!
Over the last three months a great effort has gone into creating new habitats in Elliker Wood. Rides have been cleared along the top, bottom and eastern sides, boundaries have been fenced, the old and decaying hedgeline along the eastern side has been laid and pedestrian and vehicular access gates have been installed.
On Monday 18th May we surveyed the bats in Ox Close Wood. Our bat expert, who is a consultant ecologist, brought a number of bat detectors so that we could all have a go at listening to and deciphering the calls that we heard. Four bat species were identified during the evening; Daubenton’s, Noctule and Common and Soprano Pipistrelle. The river was a particularly rewarding area where nearly all the bats were seen and heard. A couple of the bat detectors could record calls and further species may be identified when these recordings are analysed over the next few days.
Two more bat evenings are planned for the 17th and 24th June when different areas of the parish will be surveyed. If you would like to come; meet at the church on Moor Lane at 9.30pm. or contact 01937 574140.
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.
There is a second survey on 28th June. Check out the details in the events section above.
On 15th March, families and friends assembled pre-prepared kits for 20 tree sparrows nest boxes.
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.
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”.
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.
During the summer the Trust held and took part in a number of events…..
On Wednesday 21st May Teresa Marshall and her husband Robert gave an interesting and enlightening talk on Hedgehogs. They brought along a live animal for us to look at and there were photographic displays of their Hedgehog “Hogspital” and of the development of hedgehogs from hedgehoglet to adult.
Hedgehogs numbers are in serious decline; down 35% in the last ten years. Although we see many hedgehogs squashed on the road, one of their biggest dangers is man with his strimmers, sprays and slug pellets. But the main reason for their decline is habitat loss and one of the best ways we can help hedgehogs is to leave wild areas in our gardens.
Robert and Teresa will be back in East Keswick on the 13th July when they will lead a Minibeast Event in the Elliker field where we hope to identify as many creepy crawlies as possible and to which everyone is invited.