Working Towards a Wilder Nottinghamshire

Over the next few years Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust are running a major project across the county promoting wider engagement with wildlife. This is part of a long term ideal to achieve a significant growth in action for wildlife across the community. The belief is that if the nature conservation movement can develop a sufficient groundswell of activity and opinion in favour of wildlife local and national governments will also pay far more heed to the issue. It is a major ask, but NWT are committing three staff members across the county to get out into the community supporting and advising existing groups, but also helping new groups and individuals to find their feet with direct advice, signposting etc.

To be clear what the Trust has is dedicated staff time, not bags of cash. Nor is it tied in anyway to membership of Notts Wildlife Trust or any direct association with the Trust, the charity is offering a helping hand no more, no less in helping groups work towards the following sort of things

  • making your outdoor space wildlife friendly
  • fundraising for an environmental cause
  • encouraging nature connectedness in your community
  • volunteering for a green cause
  • speaking up for nature

Our community team can signpost you towards support advice, who to contact about specific issues, contact with similar groups whatever is appropriate to the challenge. It is about empowering you (sorry difficult to avoid buzz words).

None of this is rocket science, nor is it new. Over the last twenty years in Rushcliffe NWT have assisted Friends of Bingham Linear Park, Sharphill Wood, Gotham Sandbanks, The Hook at Ladybay and the Green Line West Bridgford and more besides. The difference is there is now a team dedicated to that sort of activity.

But please remember it can be all sorts of activities, not just Friends Groups ,like for example a community wildlife group such as Wild Things Keyworth, (actually an impressive self starter) or creating a U3A wildlife group or community gardens or something you as an individual want to try and do. It is about helping YOU achieve your (wildlife friendly aim)aim.

So if you are an existing group and want some help and advice OR there is something of a wildlify nature in your patch that YOU want to make a difference with contact wilder@nottswt.co.uk and see how they can help.

For me the mantra is that “every little helps” and lots of small differences build up. The groups I just quoted have all appeared in the last 20 years.

See the attached leaflet What is Wilder Nottinghamshire (2) about Wilder Nottinghamshire.

Wilder Nottinghamshire is about community action, alongside this NWT is also looking to grow it`s capacity to reach out to the farming community, but that is a whole other kettle of fish.

South Notts Local Group Wildlife Newsletter

Every month the South Notts Local Group produces a newsletter, covering wildlife activities in the coming month, news about local wildlife, as well as items of county/national interest. The newsletter is circulated by E Mail to contacts, but if you don`t see it this is a link to the May newsletter  http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/SNLG-monthly-mail-may2023-v1.pdf

 

If you want to receive it on a regular basis please E Mail southnottswildlife@gmail.com

 

Wildlife walks in May

 

Bingham Linear Park and Cotgrave Country Park are running wildlife walks in may as well so this is an updated list

Sat 6th May – Wilwell Farm Cutting in Spring. Join Gordon Dyne to look at the wildflowers at the height of the spring season around the reserve. Maybe some mud. Meet 10 am at the Wilwell car park on the left, just before the ring road bridge on the B680 between Ruddington and Wilford (look out for reserve sign) . Post Code for approx location NG2 7UT, Just Three Words = home, news, fuzzy   Need more info contact gordon.dyne@gmail.com

Sun 7th May – Dawn Chorus Walk at Rushcliffe Country Park 5.45 am till 7 pm. Come and hear the early birds with us. Join Staff and Volunteers on a gentle, informal early morning stroll celebrating International Dawn Chorus Day (Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park). The event is free. Just meet at the Visitor Centre.

Sat 13th May Bird Song Walk at Cotgrave Country Park at 6.30am   Learn about the birds chirping in the bushes with Lee Scudder and the Friends Group. Bring binocs, ID guides are available. Charge £2 to book tickets go to Book your ticket here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/the-friends-of-cotgrave…

Sun 21st May – Guided walk along Bingham Linear Park with Jenni Craig  at 10 am, starting from the Tythby Rd entrance. We are looking out for butterflies such as the Grizzled Skipper. Wear stout shoes. jenny@ifcraig.com

Achieving a Wilder Nottinghamshire

Over the next few years Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust are running a major project across the county promoting wider engagement with wildlife across the county. This is part of a long term ideal to achieve a significant growth in action for wildlife across the community. The belief is that if the nature conservation movement can develop a sufficient groundswell of activity and opinion in favour of wildlife local and national governments will also pay far more heed to the issue. It is a major ask but NWT are committing three staff members across the county to get out into the community supporting and advising existing groups and helping new groups and individuals to find their feet with direct advice, signposting etc.

To be clear what the Trust has is dedicated staff time, not bags of cash. Nor is it tied in anyway to membership of Notts Wildlife Trust or any direct association with the Trust, the charity is offering a helping hand no more, no less in helping groups work towards the following sort of things

  • making your outdoor space wildlife friendly
  • fundraising for an environmental cause
  • encouraging nature connectedness in your community
  • volunteering for a green cause
  • speaking up for nature

Our community team can signpost you towards support advice, who to contact about specific issues, contact with similar groups whatever is appropriate to the challenge. It is about empowering you (sorry difficult to avoid buzz words).

None of this is rocket science, nor is it new. Over the last twenty years in Rushcliffe NWT have assisted Friends of Bingham Linear Park, Sharphill Wood, Gotham Sandbanks, The Hook at Ladybay and the Green Line West Bridgford and more besides. The difference is there is now a team dedicated to that sort of activity.

But please remember it can be all sorts of activities, not just Friends Groups ,like for example a community wildlife group such as Wild Things Keyworth, (actually an impressive self starter) or creating a U3A wildlife group or community gardens or something you as an individual want to try and do. It is about helping YOU achieve your (wildlife friendly aim)aim.

So if you are an existing group and want some help and advice OR there is something of a wildlify nature in your patch that YOU want to make a difference with contact wilder@nottswt.co.uk and see how they can help.

For me the mantra is that “every little helps” and lots of small differences build up. The groups I just quoted have all appeared in the last 20 years.

See the attached leaflet Wilder Nottinghamshire Flyer_20230501_0002 about Wilder Nottinghamshire.

Wilder Nottinghamshire is about community action, alongside this NWT is also looking to grow it`s capacity to reach out to the farming community, but that is a whole other kettle of fish.

Cotgrave Country Park Wildlife Walks

Do you like a Sunday morning walk in the Country Park?
Once a quarter a member of the Friends group will be leading a walk looking at plants and listening to birds there. Our first walk this year was on Sunday March 26th. We welcomed two families with young and enthusiastic children, exploring nature. Hazel and goat willow (pussy willow) had catkins out, which feed early bees. Daffodils both wild and from gardens brightened the overcast day. We even saw early cowslips (planted by schoolchildren from our primary schools). A yellow wagtail was a nice surprise, and an early bumblebee buzzed past looking for food and a home. 17 plants and 9 trees were seen, and 13 birds heard, some being seen too.
If you would like to come on the next walk at the end of June, watch the Cotgrave Country park facebook site for details.

Alternatively Looking for a weekend activity? 🧭Why not try out the orienteering course with 17 markers to complete. Each marker has been crafted as a silhouette reflecting the history of the park, its wildlife, or a leaf from one of the trees found here.

Find out more details about our orienteering course and download the sheet here : https://www.cotgravecountrypark.co.uk/explore/orienteering/
Send us a message if you would like the answers to the sheet!

Plans explored to enhance and protect hedgerows in Rushcliffe

Plans are being explored on further improving the hedgerow network in Rushcliffe to protect wildlife and help to tackle climate change.

Rushcliffe Country Park fence hedge

Rushcliffe Borough Council is now working closely with partners to reach out to farmers and landowners to provide advice and support on managing hedgerows across the Borough.

Recognising that hedges have a positive effect for both wildlife and the amenity of residents, they play a vital role in carbon reduction and the authority has a strategic aim to increase the hedgerow network by 40% across the Borough by 2050.

It follows a national campaign by the Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan 2023, helping to tackle the climate emergency.

The Council has statutory regulations in place to protect hedgerows and the unauthorised removal of a hedgerow can result in a fine of up to £5000 and can enforce replacement planting.

Hedgerows are an important component of the Rushcliffe countryside and play a crucial role in protecting wildlife and provide food, shelter and linear routes for many species.

Bats navigate and feed along hedgerows and over 30 species of bird nest in them. Mammals also use the areas for shelter and ditches alongside hedgerows are home to a diverse range of invertebrates.

The Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Communities and Climate Change Cllr Abby Brennan said: “A wildlife-rich environment has been shown to provide health and economic benefits.

“As part of our Carbon Clever initiative and a step towards our plans to becoming carbon neutral by 2023, we are looking at ways we can further protect hedgerows.

“Most hedgerows are over 150 years old and they enhance the appearance and character of the Borough. They also provide homes and corridors for wildlife, crucial for biodiversity.

“We have hundreds of miles of hedgerow across the Borough and every single hedgerow is important for the environment. Many predate 1850 and we have measures in place to monitor and protect these areas.

“We want to engage with private landowners and farmers and we’re taking further action to build those relationships and work with our partners.

“There is Government support and other sources of funding available from The Woodland Trust, The Forestry Commission and more to assist with the maintenance and management of hedgerows.

“I encourage private landowners and farmers to find out more about these opportunities and utilise free tools and trusted resources on our website at www.rushcliffe.gov.uk.

“We also have a free guide to planting native hedgerows for residents”.

For further information on protecting hedgerows, including advice grant funding opportunities, visit our website pages.

Badger Vacination Programme cancelled due to DEFRA

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust highlights frustration and anger at Defra’s last minute decision to pull funding for badger vaccinations on the Notts/Leics border

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today spoken of its frustration and anger that its efforts to vaccinate badgers to help control the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) must end due to a last minute decision by Defra. The decision, made with just a week’s funding remaining, has left the Trust with no option but to end the project – which formed part of the Government’s Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme (BEVS).

Speaking on behalf of the Trust, Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said:

Although Defra only provided partial funding, we have chosen to support the BEVS programme for the past seven years because it was the right thing to do – the right way to protect badgers and to protect farmers’ livelihoods. The match funding provided through our donors and cost savings delivered through our specially trained project volunteers meant our project, which has vaccinated 275 badgers, delivered excellent value for money and we are proud of our record. We would like to express our thanks to everyone that has donated and volunteered to make this possible and its very sad that we won’t now be able to continue.”

“Having the rug pulled from under us by our project partner when we had a skilled and motivated team primed for action has left us baffled and frustrated – but knowing that we will not now be able to vaccinate badgers on land where farmers are ready and waiting for us to do so makes us angry”.

The Charity, which has a long history of working with farmers and landowners across the county, feels it is the victim of the Government’s decision, in 2019/20, to expand the badger cull into its original project area – undermining more than six years work and resulting in the Trust having to build relationships with landowners from scratch.

The Trust has spent the past 12 months engaging with farmers and landowners and its project manager and volunteer team were all set for a new round of vaccinations this year.

Paul explained:

“Despite the expansion of the cull, which we felt was wholly unjustified, we remained committed to the BEVS programme and to supporting farmers through vaccination and worked extremely hard to develop a new vaccination area. The BEVS team were aware of the challenges we faced and backed us every step of the way – so to have the fact we’ve were unable to vaccinate last year thrown back at us as part justification to pull the funding feels like a betrayal – not only of us as project partners, but of the farmers who had agreed for us to vaccinate on their land.”

Defra is currently funding a £2.27 million pilot project designed to enable farmers to vaccinate badgers on their own land and the Trust feels that this change of direction is at the heart of the decision not to extend its funding for another 12 months.

Paul concluded:

“We have fought extremely hard to keep this project going, making up the funding gap year on year. For Defra’s bTB Programme Team to sign off the letter which effectively culled our vaccination project with a statement about them remaining committed to working in partnership with groups that want to vaccinate badgers is difficult to swallow”.

“To see our successful, cost effective project, which only cost Defra in the region of £30,000 a year end just as a recently fully-funded £2.27million pilot programme gets under way, is hard to take, especially when there are landowners ready and waiting for us to vaccinate on their land. However, we hope that the new programme is a success as we remain utterly convinced that badger vaccination is a key part of efforts to control the spread of bTB and to limit its devastating impacts on farmers and farm businesses”.

Ivy on Trees

There is a common misconception that ivy “damages” trees, but it is important to realize that Ivy is a native species and is a normal component of most, if not all, woodland sites.

Ivy provides a valuable habitat for small mammals (including bats), birds and insects (including bees, hoverflies and butterflies). Its woody structure and evergreen nature provides safety, roosting, hibernation and nesting opportunities all year round. Whilst its berries provide an important food source for birds during winter, its long flowering season means it is an important source of late season nectar for bees and other invertebrates. It can also provide year-round ground cover and reduce the effect of frost hardening the ground in winter months, which means animals can continue to forage in the leaf litter during extreme cold weather (Woodland Trust, 2020).

The Woodland Trust states “Ivy uses trees and walls for support, allowing it to reach upwards to better levels of sunlight. It is not a parasitic plant and has a separate root system in the soil and so absorbs its own nutrients and water as needed. Ivy does not damage trees and its presence doesn’t indicate that a tree is unhealthy, and it doesn’t create a tree-safety issue.”

Another misconception is that ivy blocks the tree from photosynthesising. An already weakened or dying tree might appear to be failing because of the ivy, the ivy being more obvious than any fungal, bacterial or viral infections that may be blighting the tree. Ivy may help create a sort of sail effect in some trees. If it is old, declining or  disease-weakened a tree is more vulnerable to structural damage in strong winds. The ivy only marginally increases that risk.

Action to remove ivy from trees would negatively impact on a valuable wildlife resource, without meaningfully reducing any risk of tree damage; Indeed, there have been instances locally where poorly executed ivy removal has actively damaged trees.

Where there is a tree safety management issue an assessment should be made if the tree is safe. If it represents a risk, the tree should then be dealt with appropriately and whilst the presence of ivy might marginally increase the risk, it is the health of the tree and its core structure that is the problem.

RNCSIG would recommend that tree condition be monitored by land owners and farmers to prevent damage, loss or danger irrespective of the presence of ivy. Removal of ivy is unlikely to represent a solution. Where there is concern for tree safety, remedial advice should be sought.

Skylarks Bird Walk with Neil Glenn

A big thanks to Neil (the Birdhunter) Glenn for a lovely (if frosty in the shade) bird walk at Skylarks Nature Reserve today. Some 20 hardy souls turned out at 9pm and we were able to explore the bird life of the site. Don`t know about other people but amongst the highlights for me was two Green Woodpeckers on the ground (regularly hear but rarely see), a Song Thrush close up (only know them by song), the Heronry (not heard tell of that on site) and the  Great White Egret (didn`t know they were now appearing locally.

But then there was the supporting cast of raptors – Buzzard, Merlin (well Neil saw it anyway), Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, plus a range of ducks and geese (as you would expect) and also the little birds (Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Robin and the rest of the birds in the band) and Raven (apparently they are also now found locally, who knew). Oh yes and some rabbits.

If I had visited on my own I would not have noticed half the birds that were pointed out or been able to work out what they were (combination of eyesight and binoculars). But Neil also went into QI mode – did you know that Coots migrate – I thought they were resident, or that the Goldeneye mating displays are prior to flying north to their breeding grounds, so when they arrive for the short arctic summer the pairs are good to go.

So thanks Neil for a good morning bird stalking and also for the impromptu lesson of Greater or Lesser Spotted Woodpecker I heard  a week ago ? (Greater – the Lesser is apparently only known in Sherwood Forest nowadays).

Gordon Dyne 8th Feb 2023