An update from the Grizzeled Skipper hunters.

We are entering what is usually the central part of the flight season for the grizzled skipper. We usually get most of our sightings from around this time of the season and also it is a good time to search for both the butterfly and its eggs (as the females have been on the wing for a few weeks now).
On the 9th may we had reports of a grizzled skipper on the wing at Orston Plaster Pits. This is the first report at this site since 2015. 3 days later we received reports of the first grizzled skipper at Bingham Linear Park and on Saturday we received news of the first sighting of grizzled skipper at Saxondale. Also this week we had confirmation of the continued presence of grizzled skipper at Colston Gate. If you remember, last year grizzled skipper were discovered at this site for the very first time.
In the south west of the county, we received news yesterday of grizzled skipper still being present near Rushcliffe Halt along the Great Central Railway. Again having not been seen at this site for a few years, eggs were observed one of the butterflies food plants. (the previous sighting was in 2019). This is great news and illustrates the value of egg searches (see picture attached – thanks Brian).
In the east of the county, we have received our first records of the years from Cotham Station site and the adjacent Cotham disused railway line (including the sustran’s section running from Newark to Cotham). Records continue to come in from Staunton Quarry and Flawborough too.
Sadly, it sounds as though a large part of the suitable habitat on the eastern side of Langar airfield has been grubbed up or ploughed under. This was a very reliable series of sites so this is obviously very bad news. However, we are still seeing the butterfly in the general area as we received records from the disused railway south of Barnstone (near Langar) earlier this week.
We still haven’t had reports of Grizzled skipper from the Old Coal Stocking Yard at Newstead however I would welcome any records from across Nottinghamshire.
We still have space for our ‘Open your eyes’ event on Friday at Staunton Quarry. If you would like to come along please contact myself or Emma Gilbert
(Emma.Gilbert@nottscc.gov.ukand) we will book you’re a place. The forecast isn’t great but we may be lucky and even in not ideal conditions we can show you how to search for (and find) grizzled skipper eggs.
Chris Jackson

Visiting Local(ish) Reserves

Now is a good time to get Out and About visiting local wildlife sites around Rushcliffe, so here are some useful links to nature reserves in Rushcliffe, both NWT and Friends of sites.

Rushcliffe Nature in Rushcliffe leaflet    http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=18

Rushcliffe Nature Reserves    http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=228

NWT  Reserve Bunny Wood   http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=29

NWT Reserve  Skylarks          http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=258

NWT Reserve  Wilford Claypits  http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=217

NWT Reserve  Wilwell Farm Cutting   http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=35

In addition for more formal outings, see our Out and About with Wildlife Programme http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=231

Outside of Rushcliffe you can go further a field

Notts Wildlife Trusts full list of reserves https://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/nature-reserves

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust       https://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/nature-reserve

Leicestershire Wildlife Trust  https://www.lrwt.org.uk/nature-reserves

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust    https://www.lincstrust.org.uk/nature-reserves  .

In particular I can recommend Leics WT`s Holwell Mineral Line& Browns Hill Quarry, Ulverscroft and Herbert Meadows, Lea Meadows, Wymeswold Meadows, Loughborough Big Meadow, Cloud Hill Wood, Dimminsdale and Charnwood Lodge which are all just over the southern border, no passport required.

Recording Birds and Butterflies in the Garden

There are a couple of schemes that ask people to record wildlife seen in gardens on a regular basis.

The Garden Bird Survey run by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has been running for decades and has collected a lot of information about trends in birds using our gardens. What they are asking you to record is the birds you have seen in your garden on a weekly basis. If you are interested in this go to https://bto.org/our-science/projects/gbw this is a completely different affair to the RSPB Great Garden Birdwatch which is just about recording birds seen on a single day.

Another much newer scheme is Butterfly Conservations Garden Butterfly Survey, again it asks people to record on a weekly basis butterflies seen in the garden. Running since 2016 they reckon to have received over 70,000 records from some 1,000 gardens around the country, so why not think about addhttps://gardenbutterflysurvey.org/ing yours to the list. For more details go to https://gardenbutterflysurvey.org/ These are both valid contributions to our knowledge of these species groups and well worth supporting, with the added bonus you can have a cuppa tea and a biscuit whilst doing it.

And don`t forget Nature Counts for more widespread records https://record.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/

Sharphill Wood Work Party

The next work party at Sharphill Wood will be on Sunday 24th April. 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 24th April, meeting at 09.45 and finishing 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: The main task will be repairing/installing path edging near the northern end of the site. Richard Elliott will be leading this work party. Relevant training will be given where necessary. Safety: All volunteers must pay attention to the safety of themselves and others. Risk assessments 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 (although we will have some spare gloves if needed).

·  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 ensure an appropriate supply of tools. Also look out for any further emails in case arrangements change. John Elwell (Work Party Co Ordinator) john.r.elwell@outlook.com

GIVEN THAT COVID-19 IS STILL VERY MUCH ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY, WE CONTINUE TO TAKE CERTAIN PRECAUTIONS. PLEASE BE AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Please stay away if you or anyone in your household has any Covid-like symptoms, have tested positive or are required to self-isolate.
  • Please bring hand sanitiser, disinfecting wipes and face covering (in case needed for close working).
  • If possibly bring your own gardening gloves (although we will have some spares). 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.
  • Wear gloves all the time, except where impracticable. Disinfect your hands after handling anything, before eating or drinking, and at the end of 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.
  • Because we will be sharing tools to some extent, you may wish to use a disinfecting wipe between uses.
  • Please maintain reasonable social distancing (from each other and from members of the public) and consider wearing a face covering if you need to work close to somebody.

 

 

DON`T JUST SPOT IT, RECORD IT

An important part of nature conservation is understanding what is (and is not) around. But whilst there are dedicated volunteers who spend a lot of their time recording birds, running butterfly transects, moth trapping and researching into many other obscure groups the activity in the wider area is often less well recorded. Quite simply there is a lot of countryside, not forgetting urban areas..

So whilst I personally will concentrate on ensuring the recording the wildlife of Wilwell over the year, I also record birds, butterflies and mammals etc seen (or heard) on my walks around Rushcliffe. And although particularly looking out for more “iconic” species like Skylarks, Hares, Woodpeckers or Purple Emperors, I would also record the “usual suspects” – the Robins, Great Tits, Crows and Blackbirds, Small Tortoiseshells and Speckled Wood.

Everyone can contribute to this picture, even if it is reporting for example bird and butterfly  records in the local park or nature reserve once a month or when out walking the dog. And whilst your individual records may not seem much, when added into the general database they add to the bigger picture.,

But such records need to get into the county and national databases to be of value and for this you can use the Notts Wildlife Trust web site Nature Counts to record wildlife you have seen in the area. Straightforward to use – you just need a date, a species, numbers (if possible) and to be able to pinpoint the location on the online map. This is then forms part of the national records of wildlife distribution, helping create a picture of species distribution and abundance.

To find out more about Nature Counts and set up an account follow this link

https://record.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/

 

Solar Farm near Bunny Wood

A planning application has been made for a major Solar Farm adjacent to Bunny Wood nature reserve. Details can be found on the Rushcliffe Borough Council planning web site https://planningon-line.rushcliffe.gov.uk/online…/ Planning Ref 22/00303/FUL, the deadline for comments from the public is 1st April.
The site map (see http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/…/Solar-Farm-plan.pdf) indicates the array runs right along the whole of the southern edge of the reserve and extends for about 1000m along the slope to the south to the Wysall Road, and represents a significant visual intrusion into the landscape. Visibility issues aside, Bunny Wood takes a lot of drainage from the top of the field, so the solar farm may also affect the site’s hydrology and ecology. It will also impact the farmland wildlife currently to be found in the open fields here, like Hares and Skylarks – even species like Golden Plover and Hen Harrier have been seen making use of these fields in recent years.
This application represents the difficult choices the planning system raises as we are all far more reliant on energy than in the past, but the production of energy, renewable or not comes at a cost. As always the planning process is open to individuals making comments.

Gardening for Wildlife

With spring coming now is a good time to think if there is anything more you can do to attract and assist local wildlife in your area. This is about wildlife friendly gardening, rather than letting the garden go wild. Here are a series of useful links on our web site that may give you some idea.
Various wildlife gardening web sites that might be helpful http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=519
In addition you might want to take advantage of Rushcliffe Borough Councils seed packet offer, mentioned in an earlier FB post.
Gardens form a significant land area in the UK. So whilst these sorts of things are not going to change the world, but every little helps and a lot of littles can end up being significant.

Get Out and About with Wildlife.

As the weather gets better and spring sneaks in take the opportunity to visit some of our local nature reserves. You have the well known ones like Skylarks, Sharphill Wood, Cotgrave Country Park and Bunny Wood, but remember there are others like Bingham Linear Park, Wilwell, Wilford Claypits, Springdale Wood etc.

The following link to our web South Notts Wildlife contain details of the accessible reserves in the area http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=228

and includes links to web sites and reserve leaflets, where available.

In addition there is a link to the RBC leaflet Nature in Rushcliffe – http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/NatureInRushcliffe_leaflet_artwork.pdf

And notes on what critters to look out for over the coming months – http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=1640

For our local wildlife guided walks look at our Out & About Programme http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=231

If you want to look further a field go to the Notts Wildlife Trust web site https://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/ and look at reserves across the county and other wildlife activities.

But what ever you do get out and about with wildlife, you know it makes sense.

We want #NatureForEveryone

From listening to birdsong, to walks in the woods with friends, getting out in nature is great for our physical & mental health!
But 1 in 3 of us don’t have nature nearby & many of our natural spaces are at risk from decline & development.
The Government says it wants to Level Up quality of life. So join us in demanding a #LevellingUp of nature.
                                         Please sign the petition  bit.ly/nature-everyone

Wildlife to look out for in the coming months

Goodness knows we could all do with some good news, so how about this? Spring is just around the corner, and nature will be emerging from its winter rest! Over the last two weeks, I’ve seen a few queen bumblebees in flight, newly emerged from winter hibernation; one came to join me as I trimmed a flowering winter clematis, exploring the flowers.
In anticipation of going out into the local area to look for wildlife, we have produced our ‘What to look for in March’ guide, with pointers on what birds, flowers and insects you might see.