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.
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.
While children made dens for themselves and their teddies!
Looking down the ride in progress on the east side of Elliker Wood
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.
The top ride; complete.
Laying the hedge.
The hedge, laid.
Pedestrian gate in progress.
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.
A few of the Trust members who attended the bat evening…. surrounded by Daubenton’s bats!
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.
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.
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.