Good evening friends :-)
Today's report hinges mostly around a single species ..
'Interesting !' I hear you cry ...
There was a reed bunting seen opposite to the Mere Hide ...
Well actually, today's report hinges totally around just the one species due to it being the only thing reported !!!
Fortunately Titchers saved the day by offering a couple of 'horticultural' occurrences ..
The willow trees are now displaying their yellow flowers .. These can be found to the RHS of the screen in the Tree Sparrow Farm ..
The blackthorn next to the stream at the rear of the car park is also flowering .. This tree (or is it a bush?) actually comes into flower before the leaves appear ...
Interesting stuff !
There are also cowslips over by the pylons .... Watch out for the crazy peregrine though !!
A last offering from Titchers was to mention that a couple of Queen bumblebees have been seen searching around for a suitable nest ..
They might as well use the nestboxes ... If there is only 1 reed bunting on the reserve it isn't going to need much space is it ??
Only 1 bird on the reserve eh .. Who would have thought it ?
We know different though don't we ... ;-)
Night everyone ... Have a nice evening !
Well, the whole of the Dearne Valley actually.
This week has been rather momentous for local conservation with the news that the Dearne Valley has been chosen by the Government to become a flagship Nature Improvement Area (or NIA).
NIAs are a new approach for the Government, designed to create a landscape scale approach to environmental conservation through the creation of robust ecological networks.
It is something that both the RSPB and Wildlife Trusts have been advocating for some time (we call them futurescapes, the Trusts call them Living Landscapes) and it acknowledges that we cannot buffer the effects of climate change or help species recovery simply by working within the boundaries of protected areas such as nature reserves. Instead, we need to get out there and work with others to improve the whole area and make viable links and habitat corridors to join the key protected areas.
The Dearne Valley has already been designated as an RSPB Futurescape and this week we found out that we were one of just 12 areas to successfully get through the NIA selection process. Over 80 areas applied and the final 12 includes some of the most iconic wildlife landscapes in England. So we are in exalted company.
Our strength lies in the fact that firstly, we have an incredibly strong local partnership with amongst others, Natural England, Barnsley and Rotherham Councils, Groundwork Dearne Valley, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, The Garganey Trust (who manage Broomhill Flash), Forestry Commission and The Environment Agency. And secondly, while our landscape is not iconic in the sense of the South Downs or Morecombe Bay, it has come such a long way since the end of coal mining and has bags of potential to develop further and genuinely connect people to nature.
NIA status will give us access to all sorts of profile and information, but crucially, it also comes with more than £500,000 over the next three years to fund a range of projects in the Valley. And even better, it will help us to lever in further funding - success breeds success!
Pete Wall (who you will remember is overseeing developments at Adwick) will lead on the NIA on behalf of all the partners. We already have a huge menu of potential projects to link people better to the landscape they live in, create new paths and infrastructre, undertake education outreach, map the biodiversity of the whole Valley and improve and create new habitats across the area. We will keep you informed of progress with all the exciting things as they happen..
Elsewhere, the Dark Peak Area of the Peak District National Park (a project the RSPB will also lead on) and the Humberhead Levels (that will include Blacktoft Sands and RSPB involvement) have both also got through the process.
So Congratulations to Pete and the other partners for leading the Dearne bid to success and also to our neighbouring NIAs - it is a great week for local conservation!
Evenin viewers :-)
Another lovely day ... Surely Spring is here now !!!
Soon the smell of freshly cut lawns will be wafting around .. Or in my case, freshly swept patio ...
Some good stuff from Old Moor today ...
Great news as the Cetti's warbler was seen over by the reedbeds .. I think that this little guy is forgotten at times but it is a special bird for us and the fact that it's still hanging around is brill :-) There were 4 snipe seen here too ...
The Mere had 6 goldeneyes and the males were seen displaying by throwing their heads back in order to try and impress the females .. I might practice that !! Also seen were 7 goosanders, wigeons, teals, gadwalls and lapwings ..
The Wader Scrape had a little egret (another great bird), a redshank, 2 oystercatchers, a green sandpiper, 2 common gulls and a lesser black-backed gull ..
There were yellowhammers, tree sparrows and reed buntings seen on the Tree Sparrow Farm ..
The Bird Garden was busy with a willow tit, blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, stock doves and a female sparrowhawk all being seen here ..
So there you go friends .. That's all for today :-)
Have a great evening everyone ..
A rainy Monday but at least it isn't snow ... Nice weather for ducks but there were only a few reported !!
A fairly short list today but here is what I have :-)
A kingfisher was seen, as is normal nowadays, beside the Wildlife Pond and another one was seen on the river at the rear of the reserve ...
There was a redshank on the Wader Scrape and also on Wath Ings along with a little egret ...
Over on the Mere were 4 female and 2 male goldeneyes and 20 female and 40 male goosanders ...
The Field Pool had a ringed plover and there were yellowhammers and a wren seen in the Bird Garden ...
Other reports were of a sparrowhawk (possibly on the Mere) and 3 oystercatchers ....
And that concludes this evenings tidings !!
Have a great evening folks :-)
I thought it might be nice to have a look at the ruby tiger moth caterpillar which was found by 'Nicolavolunteer' on the reserve yesterday. They are lovely and well worth a further look....
A fantastic mass of coppery coloured fuzz!
I have loved caterpillars, moths and butterflies for years, since I was a kid. This is exactly the kind of caterpillar which used to account for the red, swollen eyes I had most summers as I couldn't resist handling them despite being allergic to the tiny, fine hairs! :D I was a lovely child!......
Moths and butterflies have various strategies to get them through the winter months, when many food plants for the larva/caterpillar die back. Some over-winter as eggs, some hibernate as adults. It is obvious that the ruby tiger moth winters as a caterpillar. The natural concentration of chemicals like potassium and sodium in it's blood prevent it from freezing solid, so it just slows right down and becomes inactive to save energy. Come a mild spell at the end of winter, like yesterday, they are able to warm up and go searching for any food plants around, so they can get on with the caterpillars main mission: eating!
They have catholic tastes and eat many common herbs and plants such as groundsel, ragwort and as here, common plantain.
Their broad range of potential food plants makes it easier to find suitable food, as soon as plants begin to grow again in the early spring. So it helps make the caterpillar stage a viable one in which to over-winter. It's interesting too, that many of the plants which we consider 'weeds' in our gardens, provide essential food for these beautiful insects. Just see how they look when they become a moth......
What a stunner! The ruby tiger moth.
This moth can be found across Britain and is on the wing from April through to September, usually. Beautiful.