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Friday, 31 May 2019
Thursday, 30 May 2019
vote for project C
Woods and Water (Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group) in
the Rastrick Big Local ballot this year.
- Improve the public footpath through Reins Wood and Strangstry Wood with better surfacing, steps and signage from Lillands Lane down to the railway crossing and into the nature reserve.
- Work on the nature reserve to keep open water in the lagoon, conserving special habitats for plants and all sorts of wildlife, extend our wheelchair accessible footpaths and provide an additional viewing point across the reedbed.
Posted by Margaret C - birdbox at 15:14:00
Thursday, 23 May 2019
Earlier this year the Thursday volunteers spent a few sessions getting the reserve's nest boxes ready for this year's breeding season. This involved taking down damaged boxes, repairing them and putting these and new boxes up. As we have something like 100 boxes located around the reserve we also took grid references of all the boxes so that we could relocate them all. The majority of the boxes are designed for blue tits and great tits but we also have robin, treecreeper, owl, and sparrow boxes along with a number of bat boxes.
For the last 8 days I have spent time with Steve Downing, who is a licensed bird ringer. He looked into some of the boxes and ringed chicks where appropriate. Unless you have a license, it is illegal to open nest boxes during the breeding season or to handle wild birds. The window of opportunity to ring small birds is quite small. The chicks must have most of their feathers developed but still be in the nest. This opportunity only lasts a few days. Last week we found around 65 boxes with approximately 90-95% occupied but none of the chicks were ready for ringing. Since then we have ringed approximately 80 chicks. The brood size varied from 7 to 11 chicks per nest, With the good weather we have had in the last couple of weeks this shows an excellent return and bodes well for a very good breeding season for these small birds this year.
Hopefully we will manage to get a lot more chicks ringed in the coming weeks. Each of the rings has an individual identification number stamped on it along with a telephone number. Should anyone find a dead bird with a ring attached then they should make a note of this number and ring the telephone number. If there are any obvious clues as to the cause of death then this should be passed on. This allows the British Trust for Ornithology to gather information on how long birds live for, how far they move from their birthplace and causes of death so that scientists can see trends and develop strategies for improving survival rates.
Friday, 17 May 2019
I had a very pleasant wander around Tag meadow in the morning and North Loop with Alan Pullan in the afternoon. Still a bit early for most species despite the warm, sunny weather. Just two species of butterflies were ID-ed and six moths, however three of those were nice finds.
Highlight for myself was my first ever Mother Shiptons, one in Tag meadow and one on North Loop. Their habit of being skittish and landing in dense vegetation made photography difficult. You can just see the old hag's face on the forewings.
Another interesting one was this Small Yellow Underwing. Despite being a macro moth it's quite tiny with a wingspan of c20mm and therefore easily overlooked and under-recorded.
There were quite a few of these Common Rollers (Ancylis badiana) about as would be expected.
The same goes for this Bordered Marble (Endothenia marginana).
Much scarcer was this Vetch loving Northern Crescent Piercer (Grapholita lunulana). It's often difficult to pick out amongst the more common Grapholita species.
Two of these very small Triple-stripe Piercers (Grapholita compositella) were disturbed from the low herbage but were too flighty (and small) for photographs so this is one I took last year.
Just four butterflies were seen all day: One Peacock, one Green-veined White and two unidentified whites.