Whats on a Twig ?

Tim Williams, lover of obscure and curious wildlife, used his microscope to take a selection of shots from a single twig I got from Wilwell. Not a special twig just a dead twig. If thats what on one small twig about the size of a pencil it makes you appreciate how vibrant and diverse the whole reserve is. He identified five different species of fungi, lichen etc living on that one small twig. It makes you wonder how much diversity a thorough study might throw up on just one site. Biodiversity is not just birds and butterflies fundamental to a healthy ecosystem will all these unsung heroes” making a living on twigs and stones, high in trees, underground, in marshes and on hard ground – life gets everywhere.

Photos of Tim`s little “menagerie” can be found here  

Moth trapping in Cotgrave Forest

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust carried out a moth trapping evening at Cotgrave Forest on 4th August 2017. The event was hosted by one of the woodland owners. Neighbouring owners were invited along and the evening was supported by two local naturalists/ ecologists, Neil Pinder and Mike Hill.

The event yielded a total of 27 species, which is good given the recent unsettled weather. Although no particular rarities arrived at our moth trap, the diversity in colouring and patterning of the moths was outstanding. This ranged from the mainly yellow Brimstone moth to the quite large and numerous Large Yellow Underwing, both of which came to our trap early on. We also saw the Blood-vein and Peach Blossom; the latter arrived at the sugar mix we painted on a nearby fence post. Both have very beautiful markings. Further information on
the moths mentioned can be found on the UK Moths website  ttps://www.ukmoths.org.uk/

Cotgrave Forest is one of the ‘focal areas’, identified by
the Rushcliffe local nature partnership (RNCSIG). We are currently working up a project focused on Cotgrave Forest and it sourroundings. As part of this, we are offering support to woodland owners in managing their sites for wildlife and will be offering a free woodland training course for them in the autumn. http://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/.

Ben Driver, Southern Conservation Officer, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Wildlife News in Rushcliffe

Wilwell – Ash Die Back has now been confirmed at Wilwell, as the site is mainly ash saplings this will not have a significant impact on the site. We have recorded Greater Bittercress for the first time and the return (after and absence of 20 years) of Black Horehound. Curiously we also have an aberrant Common Centuary (with some plants having flowers with 5 petals (normal) and 6 petaled flowers and Creeping Cinquefoil some with 5 petaled flowers, but others with an unusual 4 petaled flower. The Southern Marsh Orchid count was some 1,000 flower spikes.

Cotgrave Wood – Butterfly Conservation are running a weekly transect survey along the woodland ride and are regularly recording some great butterflies including Purple Emporer, White Letter Hairstreak and Purple Hairstreaks (all woodland specialists and locally rare) as well as the usual suspects, such as Ringlet, large Whites and Commas.

Lings Farm – A group of Bee Eater birds appear to be nesting at the Lings Farm, East Leake. These birds are rarely seen in the UK (although have been known to nest) and have caused quiet a bit of interest amongst the birding community. Lings Farm is part of an an active gravel extraction site and NWT have been working with CEMEX on the restoration plans for 20 years to ensure that the sort of habitat work we had to “back engineer” into Skylarks is created as part of the sites restoration.

Red Kites over Rushcliffe – there have been a number of sightings of Red Kites over Rushcliffe recently and hopefully thois means they are extending their range and will become a more common sight, as the Buzzards have. Keep your eyes pealed..

Bingham Linear Park – Jenny Craig reports the marbled white butterflies have returned to Bingham Linear Park – 7 seen at one time this is the most seen on one day!

Sharphill Wood – John Elwell reports that of the 7 nest boxes in the wood four were succesful with a total of 10 Blue Tits and 9 Great Tits fledging.

Rushcliffe Country Park – the count of Southern Marsh Orchids by the lake was a cracking 650 flower spikes, not bad considering it was unkown on the site a few years ago.

Reserve Work Parties

All our local nature reserves are set within a highly managed landscape and without controlled intervention most would eventually turn into woodland, squeezing out species rich grasslands and other rare habitats. Even small woodlands need some care and attention. In Rushcliffe we have an active nature conservation community that in effect contribute something like £200,000 worth of person time to the local conservation effort. But these groups can always use more help.

We are starting to move to the start of the Work Party season, and the following sites all have active volunteer work parties – NWT Reserves – Wilwell and Wilford Claypits and Friends Groups at Bingham Linear Park, Sharphill Wood, The Hook (Lady Bay), Gotham Nature Reserve, Radcliffe on Trent Conservation Volunteers,  Costock Nature Reserve, Cotgrave Country Park, Springdale Wood (East Bridgford) and the Green Line (West Bridgford).

All our local nature reserves are set within a highly managed landscape and without controlled intervention most would eventually turn into woodland, squeezing out species rich grasslands and other rare habitats. Even small woodlands need some care and attention. In Rushcliffe we have an active nature conservation community that in effect contribute something like £200,000 worth of person time to the local conservation effort. But these groups can always use more help.

Go to the Reserves tab at the top of the page and select Reserve Work Parties from drop down for further details.

Wilwell Nature Reserve Photo Album

A book concerning the history and present day wildlife of Wilwell Farm Cutting Nature Reserve, Ruddington’s Hidden Valley, has been given to the Ruddington Library. The book was compiled by Tim Williams one of the Nottinghamshire Wildife Trust volunteers and presented by Gordon Dyne the warden of the reserve. It will be available permanently for reference.  The book contains photographs illustrating the sites early days from 1895 as an important railway line connecting the industrial north of England to the metropolitan area and beyond to the proposed Victorian Channel tunnel which began construction in 1882. 

 Today its 20 acres has a wide variety of natural habitats where wild orchids thrive in two wild flower meadows. Many types of birds live in the hawthorn scrub and marsh areas support willow and rushes. Badgers have constructed several sets and squirrels chase among the tree tops. The Reserve is of interest at any time of the year. 

You can request to see a copy at the library or Ctrl & click on this link to see the online version of Tim`s Wilwell Photo Album

Cotgrave Forest Focal Area

The butterflies of Cotgrave Forest in Rushclife, Nottinghamshire include a number of woodland rarities such as Dark Green Fritillary. White Letter Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak and Silver Washed Fritillary. (not to mention at least 21 other species of butterfly found in the area). Because of this the area around the Forest and Cotgrave has been identified under the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy as one of our primary foci for concerted nature conservation development.

The objective is to develop a Landscape Scale conservation outlook linking the Forest with the wider countryside through improved wildlife corridors along hedgerows and green lanes and looking at creating woodland copses to create “stepping stones” across to adjacent woodland areas, but also looking at the possibilities for other wildlife friendly features such as ponds, wildflower meadows, road verges etc. The mantra of the vision for this area is Better, Bigger and More Connected.

To make this happen a Focal Area steering group is exploring contacts with Cotgrave Forest woodland plot owners, Woodlands for Sale, adjacent farmers, but also looking to reach out further to other woodland owners, the Highway Agency, Cotgrave Country Park, local golf courses, solar farms etc etc. The long term hope is to link up with the larger, more extensive Trent Valley Living Landscape Project being developed by Notts Wildlife Trust.

If you want to know more please contact gordon.dyne@gmail.com or you can go to www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/environmentandwaste/countryside/natureconservation/ for details of the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy.

Wildlife on Your Doorstep Awards

These are run every year by Notts Wildlife Trust to recognise local efforts to promote wildlife and nature conservation around the county. This year the following people and groups were nominated for the Rushcliffe area Derek Rudge (Wilford Claypits), Stonepit Wood Group, South Notts Bird Ringing Group and the Grizzeled Skipper Project.

But the well deserved winners were

Jenny Craig – Jenny is one of the mainstays of the Friends of Bingham Linear Park for many years, both in the administration where she acts as the groups secretary, but also on the practical side where she leads the monthly site work party, leads a programme of site walks in the summer, is an active recorder of the sites butterfly populations (as well as providing analysis of the results). Jenny is the sort of person who is the cornerstone of good local practical conservation.

Gotham Sandbanks Nature Reserve Trust – Gotham Sandbanks is part of one of a handful of SSSI`s in Rushcliffe and includes a range of interesting and uncommon (for the area) wildflowers, such us harebell, greater knapweed, ladies bedstraw, common centuary, hoary plantain, common restharrow and over the last 10 years some 83 other types of flora, plus at least 11 species of grass. The site was gradually deteriorating with taller grasses and scrub encroaching on the remaining fragment of species rich grassland within the sandbank itself. But funding from Higher Level Stewardship was obtained to allow the Trust to put up stock proof fencing around an extended area of the species rich grassland. In the winters of 2013 and 2014 local volunteers put in a great effort brushcuting the open grassland in both years and clearing the area of encroaching scrub and clearing the fence lines, with the fencing going in during 2014. Whilst all this was going on there has been survey work carried out recording flora, birds, butterflies etc, as well as getting the local school involved in outdoor activities. This is all the start of a long process, but in the last 4 years far more has been achieved by the Nature Reserve Trust than was thought possible.

Volunteer Opportunity – working with crayfish in Nottinghamshire.

Notts Biodiversity Action Group are currently running a project in Bulwell to support our native white-clawed crayfish (a LBAP species).  The project, at Bulwell Hall, is seeking to control and eventually eradicate signal crayfish from two fishing ponds at this site.  Bulwell sits within the River Leen catchment and this is currently one of the best catchments for white-clawed crayfish in the East Midlands. Signal crayfish (as well as other American crayfish species) carry crayfish plague which causes mortality in the native white-clawed crayfish when it comes into contact with infected individuals.

As a result this is an incredibly important project to try to stop the signal crayfish from spreading into the wider River Leen catchment. In order for the project to work we require the assistance of a large numbers of volunteers.  The volunteers will help with emptying the traps, recording the catch and then sterilising and returning the larger male crayfish. We will provide gloves, life vests, waders (as close to your size as possible) and other equipment. If you are interested in getting involved and are free on any of the dates below then please feel free to contact Chris Jackson at biodiversity@nottscc.gov.uk

 Saturday 6th May, Tuesday 9th May, Friday 12th May, Monday 15th May, Thursday 18th May, Sunday 21st May, Wednesday 24th May, Saturday 27th May, Tuesday 30th May, Friday 2nd June, Monday 5th June, Thursday 8th June, Sunday 11st June, Wednesday 14th June, Saturday 17th June, Tuesday 20th June, Friday 23rd June, Monday 26th June, Thursday 29th June

 More details about crayfish in Nottinghamshire can be found on the NottsBAG website (there is a leaflet at the bottom of the projects and publications page – I’m afraid it may be slightly out of date due to recent survey work).

Using your ears’ bat detector workshop

On 15th May 20176.30pm – 10.00pm, This introductory bat detector workshop involves an evening classroom session followed by a practical field session starting around dusk. Bat sounds are broken down into four elements in order to train people’s sonic memory and aid species identification using a heterodyne bat detector in the field. The focus is on pipistrelles, noctule, serotine and Daubenton’s bat as these illustrate a range of different bat sounds. The workshop will be led by Lisa Worledge, Head of Conservation Services at the Bat Conservation Trust .  There will also be infromation about how you could help with the National Bat Monitoring Programme and our Echolocation Location project.

For more details and to book please visit nottsbatgroup.org.uk/events/?event_id1=38