OUT & ABOUT WITH WILDLIFE – WALKS PROGRAMME

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Our Out & About with Wildlife programme inline with government restrictions.

Wed 14th Jul – An evening stroll round Radcliffe on Trent Lily Ponds. Meeting 7 pm. Numbers maybe restricted, for full details please contact Gordon Dyne on gordon.dyne@gmail.com for more information and to book a place.

Sat July 24th – Big Butterfly Count at Bunny Wood with Chris Terrell-Neild  Meeting  2 pm. Numbers maybe restricted, for full details please contact  christopher.terrell-nield@ntu.ac.uk for more information and to book a place.

Also see our FACEBOOK PAGE  https://www.facebook.com/SouthNottsWildlifeGroup  for local wildlife news from groups in Rushclife

Hedgehogs & Rushcliffe Borough Council

You may be interested in to know that the Rushcliffe full council considered and passed the following motion at its meeting on 1 July.
This Council notes the alarming decline in number of hedgehogs and threat of extinction and pledges to:
– Adopt landscape management practices on land it owns and manages that are supportive to hedgehogs and their habitat.
– Encourage other agencies/councils operating in Rushcliffe to do likewise.
– Conduct a public awareness campaign to encourage the public to adopt supportive practices.
– Include appropriate conditions and advisory notes on planning consents to support the species.
Exactly how this is to be implemented is still to be worked out, but it is a another step forward and hopefully will supplement the local hedgehog initiatives (see https://www.facebook.com/wildthingskeyworth/ for a prime example of a local hedgehog initiative by committed locals.

The Hook Lady Bay

Discover the wildflowers of The Hook nature reserve next weekend on a self-guided trail. You’ll be able to stroll at your own pace and see plants labelled with their name, but also a bit about their wildlife value and how they have been used as food and medicine.
The trail will start at the Mona Road entrance, take the first path through the orchard, past the pond through the central area and then back along the edge of the wildflower meadow.
It’s strictly a lo-tech approach, with laminated signs and arrows to guide you, but we’d love to see your photos. You can email them to friendsofthehook@gmail.com or you can upload them to our Facebook page.
The signs will stay in place after the weekend for a few days if there is continuing interest.

Cotgrave Country Park Work Parties

Task Days for August
If you enjoy working out of doors and have time during the week or at weekends, these task days may be for you. We would love to see some new faces to give some support and help with the park. If you are interested mail lee.scudder@nottscc.gov.uk
There is plenty to do for all ages and abilities (children need to be with a responsible adult). It is great to be immersed in nature and wildlife, and it is good exercise too!
Dates are Sunday 1st August, Tuesday 3rd August, Sunday 15th August, Tuesday 17th August.
Task days start at Hollygate Lane car park at 10.00 a.m. and finish about 3.00 p.m. You can stay as long as you like and tea and coffee is provided.
Don’t forget our Family Fun Day in the park on Sunday 22nd August. We will need helpers for the day and please contact me in advance if you want to help.
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Sharphill Wood Work Party

Our next work party at Sharphill Wood will be on Sunday 25th July. We hope to see you there, but please let us know beforehand if possible.

Please make sure you read the detailed information on Covid-19 precautions at the end of this invitation.

When: Sunday 25th June, meeting at 09.45 until about lunch time.

Who: No experience necessary and there’s always something to do even if you can’t do heavy work. Young people aged 16 or 17 must have the written permission of a parent or guardian, and children under 16 must be accompanied. Vulnerable adults must be accompanied by their carer.

Where: Meeting point will be the entrance from Peveril Drive, 09.45, or find us in the woods if you arrive later.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/place?ftid=0x4879c3a7c196f583:0xac75d96c39bfb845&q=Peveril+Dr,+West+Bridgford,+Nottingham,+UK&hl=en&ved=0CA0Q-gswAA&sa=X&ei=CeETT6X2OsKz8QOa5NnzCw&sig2=zNHwjd-TlUQ0cw33fxke2g

What: We will be doing a bit more clearing of vegetation encroaching on paths, and will also take time to learn more about the building developments in the area, how these might impact the Wood, and mitigation measures that we hope will be put in place. If time and sufficient volunteers, we will also do some more path edging.

How: Relevant training will be given where necessary.

Safety: All volunteers must pay attention to the safety of themselves and others. A Risk Assessment will be prepared and will be available for inspection on the day. Please respect all decisions of the work party leader.

Other Useful Info:
·  Please wear suitable gardening clothes and sturdy footwear. Covering arms and legs might be advisable to help avoid insect bites, ticks, stings, scratches, etc..  Also the use of insect repellent might be appropriate, particularly from spring through to early autumn.
·  Also bring gardening gloves and other items listed under Covid-19 precautions at the end of this email.
·  If you could bring a pair of garden shears, that would be useful but is not essential.
·  Bring a drink. We will stop for a break mid-morning.
·  Waterproofs / sun-cream would be useful to cover every weather eventuality!
·  It is highly recommended that you ensure your tetanus vaccinations are up-to-date.
Please advise the leader of any pre-existing condition that should be taken into account in the event of a medical emergency during the work party.

Please: Let us know (by replying to this email) if you hope to attend, so that we can allocate a place and ensure an appropriate supply of tools. Also look out for any further emails in case arrangements change.

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES TO ARRANGEMENTS TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF COVID-19

  • Please stay away if you or anyone in your household has any Covid-like symptoms or are required to self-isolate. Those classed as clinically vulnerable should give careful consideration to their attendance.
  • You must bring your own gardening gloves – we are unable to provide these for hygiene reasons. Note that some tasks may require thorn-resistant gloves. Please bear in mind that gloves may become contaminated, so take precautions and either wash them or leave them to quarantine after the work party.
  • Please consider any areas of your body that need protection against branches, etc., including your eyes – we are unable to provide eye protection for hygiene reasons.
  • Please consider bringing your own first aid kit, although we will have one available. In the unfortunate event of an accident, we may ask you to self-administer first aid, where feasible, although we will have face masks available if we need to come close.
  • We will try to minimise sharing of tools, wheelbarrows, etc., but wipes will be available for cleaning between uses. We also recommend bringing your own wipes to minimise sharing of the dispenser.
  • We recommend bringing hand sanitiser and using as appropriate, particularly before eating/drinking and at the end of the work party – we will have some available but it is better not to share the dispenser.
  • If you can bring your own tools relevant to the tasks in hand (see above), that would help to avoid sharing.
  • We will not operate a signing-in sheet, by means of which you would normally acknowledge that you have been shown the risk assessments for the tasks in hand and the personal protection equipment (PPE) available to ensure your safety while performing those tasks. In lieu of this, when you book a place we will send you the relevant information by email.
  • Please maintain social distancing (from each other and from members of the public) at all times.

 

No Mow’ summer pollinator sites now trialling across Rushcliffe

Rushcliffe Borough Councils Grounds Maintenance contractors Streetwise are now leaving selected areas on Borough land unmown to help create natural corridors to support and enhance local wildlife.

All trial areas are on land that the Council is responsible for:

  • Gotham Road, East Leake
  • Miss Machin’s field, Edwalton
  • Stamford Road allotment entrance, Gamston
  • Abbey Circus, West Bridgford
  • Abbey Park, West Bridgford
  • The Hook, around the play area, Lady Bay

All sites feature signage stating ‘please excuse the weeds, we are feeding the bees!’.

This sustainable management of the open spaces helps to not only mitigate the impact of climate change but supports the Council’s Carbon Clever initiative and its commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030. The land management changes have also been brought about by requests from residents and ward councillors, asking the authority to change the way it manages public open spaces during the summer months in order to provide the better environments for insects and animals

No mowing or herbicide spraying will now take place at the sites until the end of September and if successful will see them and other potential sites not mowed over summer in future years.

RBC Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Communities and Climate Change Cllr Abby Brennan said: “We’re very pleased to launch this wonderful project that will further enhance biodiversity across the Borough. We’re keen to protect our environment in line with our corporate priorities wherever we can and these sites will now be monitored to see how they help wildlife and habitats to thrive. If successful, we’ll consider other sites too and we want to hear residents’ views on how we manage our open spaces so please have your say in our consultation.”

The online summer pollinator survey is also now available for residents to give their views on how these spaces are managed until September 30.

The newly managed sites with the ‘No Mow’ areas often have paths cut through them and circles to provide areas for people to sit or children to play. This creates a more varied greenscape, providing a wider range of recreational and social opportunities as well as benefitting more species, and make a more interesting natural environment.

It’s with the aim for residents to see more grass swaying in the breeze and hear the buzz of insects feeding on wildflowers. If weeds become an issue at the sites alternative methods of removal will be considered that will not affect habitats.

Residents can also get involved if they have their own summer pollinator site on land not managed by the Council and would like to put up a sign acknowledging it as another pollinator area.

They should email to let the authority know of the site and can download the Council’s ‘No Mow’ signage to get involved or find out more.

Sharphill Wood Annual Bird Report 2021

Sharphill Wood is a 24-acre wood standing on a hill to the south of West Bridgford and clearly visible from many points in the city. It is owned by Rushcliffe Borough Council and is a designated Local Wildlife Site with mature ash, oak, large-leafed lime and beech. The wood is popular with local walkers; information boards at the two entrances show the rights of way. It supports a wide range of flora and fauna. Bird and plant surveys, as well as woodland management, are undertaken by The Friends of Sharphill Wood. (see www.sharphillwood.org or search Facebook for our page).

Attached is a link to the 2021 Sharphill Wood Bird survey SharphillBirdReport2021  

NET Grassland adjacent to Wilwell

The NET tramline running from Fairham Brook over to Wilwell (behind Silverdale) is surrounded by a reseeded grassland area, also dotted with planted trees. Although it is in the City it is now owned by Rushcliffe Borough Council, gifted to them by NET in compensation for loss of habitat on the line going through Compton Acres. Bizarrely the people who most benefit from this area will be denizens of Silverdale and Clifton, rather than Compton Acres, the world is a curious place.
But more importantly from my point of view it creates a substantial extension of the wildlife friendly area adjacent to Wilwell Farm Cutting, plus a strong connection to the Fairham Brook corridor. Like with Wilford Fields I have been recording the wildflowers and grasses. Recording some 60 + species of wildflower (mostly the usual suspects) and some dozen species of grasses. Once again like Wilford Fields the presence of the usual suspects (Ox Eye Daisy, Knapweed, Hop Trefoils, Clover etc) is important. But also there are examples of StJohns Wort, Evening Primrose and what seems like the inevitable Goatsbeard.
A bonus is that evidence suggests that the Wilwell Sloworm population may also be exploiting this area. And it`s link to Fairham Brook might also attract Grass Snakes, although the presence of people and dogs might limit that.
The photo is from Google Earth, the green line down the centre is the RBC/City boundary with NET coming in from the left and the railway line (Wilwell) coming up from the south.

Blue Butterflies and why they are not so common

It is noticeable that the Common Blue is rare locally, yet Birds Foot Trefoil the food plant for the caterpillar is, if not common, certainly widespread. But the following story suggests why this might be so and also suggests that in the natural world the answers may often be less obvious and more complicated than you might think.

The Large Blue butterfly went extinct in southern England due to the price of wool and myxamatosis. The LB lays its eggs on Wild Thyme, but after feeding up the caterpillar seeks out the nest of a specific species of ant and using pheromones convinces the ants into taking it in (well usually !). The caterpillar thanks it`s host by predating the ant lava and suitably fattened turns into a chrysalis. Emerging from the transformation the LB emerges in all it`s splendour (the largest of the Blues) and leaves the nest to start the cycle again.

But here`s the problem, reduction in sheep and rabbits in areas of the South Downs led to the grass getting longer. Not a problem for the LB, or the Wild Thyme, but for the specific ant species the slight cooling of the ground temperature caused that species of ant to abandon the hillsides. They still colonized the heavily grazed fields in the valleys, but Wild Thyme did not. So the chain was broken and the LB declined and went extinct in Britain, subsequently re introduced and surviving on specifically managed sites.

So the Large Blue had a breeding cycle that depended on two other species living close by, but the overlap of their habitat requirements was at best marginal, neither species needed the other and as the LB predated both of them it`s absence could be seen as a bonus. So the low numbers of Common Blue my well be a product of it`s specialist life cycle – it can only successfully breed if Birds Foot Trefoil and a specific species of ant are both present in the same location.