The opportunity to find out more about Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts exciting new Beaver Project up at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve with our Northern Nature Recovery Manager Janice Bradley. This illustrated talk was originally given as part of South Notts Local Group (NWT) AGM.
Janice explains the rationale behind the reintroduction and why it is being done at there. Supported by lots of images and videos, Janice gave us an up-to-the-minute picture of progress, including some resourceful behaviour by the resident Longhorn cattle, and the apparent universal appeal to other animals of beaver scent! At the end she took a number of questions from audience members.
Viewing the talk costs £3 (incl booking fee) via Eventbrite, follow this link to purchase link to talk https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talk-recording-beaver-reintroduction-at-idle-valley-nature-reserve-tickets-371200198787 and. You can then access the talk via YouTube, accessible till the end of Sept.
Funds raised will be donated by SNG to support the Beaver Project.
Wildlife podcasts created by County Wildlife Trusts around the country. Had a look through and these include series on Wild Cornwall (from Cornwall WT no less), Derbyshire Wildlife (by guess who ?), Greystones Wildlife Friendly Farm. There are also podcasts about the Dawn Chorus, Wildlife Gardening, Bats and the perennial Hedgehog and other things as well. Worth a look (or listen).
Follow this link to the Wildlife Trusts web site that provides follow up links to the participating Trusts
It’s great to enjoy summer and our ‘No Mow’ areas across Rushcliffe are pollinator sites to encourage wildlife and habitats to thrive even further!
There’s now over 20 sites that state ‘please excuse the weeds, we are feeding the bees!’
Last year this scheme covered 6 locations, this year it has expanded to 22 locations . It is perhaps an idea that Parish Councils might look at in relation to sites they manage and for that matter companies and even individuals.
SUDS are a feature of all new housing developments and are designed to provide the capacity to prevent heavy rain overpowering the drainage system and causing local flooding. The excess can then drain away as the pressure on the drainage network dissipates. It is likely that you will have noticed these deep sided, sloped “pits”, the size and number will vary from location to location depending on numbers and geography. Although from a wildlife point of view a more shallowish and extensive area would be the ideal, in general SUDS ponds are steep deep sided basins, as essentially the builder wants to reduce the footprint of the feature – space is money.
Now I had assumed that they would be designed to be dry most of the time (principally from a safety point of view, but also to maximize capacity ), and some do seem to be grassed over and dry. However looking at the ones created locally this does not generally appear to be the case. Quite a few have reed growing in them and even in June they often have a thin layer of water in them. Is this deliberate to provide a shallow pond habitat or a product of ground water levels ? How beneficial might these be for wildlife ?
If they do retain some water into the summer this might benefit frogs and newts, and if they retain it throughout the year other creatures like damsel and dragonflies might also be able to exploit them. It would also help if the banks were allowed to be reasonably wild ie not heavily mown. Although as many SUDS “ponds” are situated between the houses and the road I rather suspect neat and tidy will be the order of the day, at least until all the houses are sold !
As with housing, location, location, location also matters for wildlife. Sandwiched between housing and a road, a common practice, as I suspect it pushes the houses back from the road, the possibilities for colonisation is likely to be slow. But at the Wilford Fields wildlife site one of the SUDS is situated directly adjacent the site and when I was last visited seemed to be fairly wild (but dry) and can be viewed as an extension of the wildlife area.
The SUDS pond at the housing development by the Rushcliffe Country Park is tucked in a corner of the site at the back and also seems to be retaining some water over an extended period. It is adjacent to the Ruddington country park access path and the railway land beyond, so again somewhat more open to wider influence.
We tend to think of grass as just grass. In fact there are some 150 different species of grass identified in the UK. Some are common and widespread, others are denizens of specialist environments such as mountains, moors and bogs, whilst a select few form the grasses that make up the ultimate man made specialist environments of amenity grassland, sports fields and grazing pastures. But for me one of the most fascinating facts about grass is that it didn`t really exist to any significant amounts until towards the end of the age of the dinosaurs. And really became widespread and ubiquitous across the world in the last 60 million years (along with the insects and animals that exploit them).
Grass diversity is important as many insects identify specific grass types as their egg laying plant of choice. So for example many of the hundreds of moth species are grass specialists. It is also an important food source for insects and larger animals both wild and domesticated. These tend to exhibit adaptations to cope with the silica in grass blades, which creates heavy wear on teeth and may also inhibit digestion. So creatures habitually grazing on grass have enlarged teeth (or mandibles) or constantly refresh their dentures. The other grass survival strategy involves fresh growth from it`s base so it can recover from heavy grazing (or mowing), fire and draught.
There are probably some 30-40 grasses found locally. Some are relatively straightforward to identify, once you get your eye in, such as Cocksfoot, False Oat Grass, Yellow Oat Grass (these first three are a major constituent of many country road verges), Perennial Ryegrass (a common constituent of man made grassland) plus Crested Dogstail, Meadow Foxtails, Sweet Vernal Grass, Quaking Grass and Yorkshire Fog. But others, such as the Meadow Grasses, Bents, Fescues, Hair Grasses and Bromes require an ID book, a hand lens, patience and paracetmol to pin down to a specific species.
But even if you don`t want to go that far, when walking through a grassland, don`t just look at the showy flowers, pay attention to the varied structures of the grasses, they are a key component of the complex web of bio-diversity that makes up the natural world.