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.

Winter Bird Survey 2022

After initially being cancelled due to bad weather, the winter bird survey took place on Sunday 27th February on a gloriously sunny day. A total of 38 bird species were recorded along with Roe deer, rabbit and fox.

Birds recorded:
Blue Tit, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Coot, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Lapwing, Nuthatch, Redwing, Robin, Red Kite, Rook, Skylark, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Treecreeper, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Hedge laying at the Marsh

A number of the Trust’s volunteers took part in a hedge laying course recently and over the last 3 weeks have completed laying the hedge along the edge of the Marsh. Over time hedges can become hollow at the base and provide little shelter for wildlife. Hedge laying is a traditional skill that rejuvenates the hedge from the base to provide a stock proof barrier and dense habitat for wildlife. You can admire their work as you walk past on Main Street.

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!