Tuesday 17th December at 10am
Just becuase its cold and drab outside, doesnt mean you cant enjoy being outdoors! If you fancy a day out on your local nature reserve, helping us with some important habitat management work, with maybe a sneaky christmas mince pie or two, why no join us on Tuesday 17th December for our annual coppicing work party.
We will be heading to part of the reserve not usually accessable to the public, where we will be coppicing trees in the new plantation. This work will add diversity to the woodland, benifiting insects and birds in the future. You dont need any special skills, and all tools and training will be provided. There will also be a warming fire and a christmas mince pie to enjoy!
We will be meeting at 10am at the Manor Farm farm yard, where we have our RSPB office. You will need to being suitable outdoor clothing and shoes, some lunch and something to drink. It may also be wise to bring something to sit on (eg a plastic bag/fold away stool).
If you would like to come, or want a bit more information, please get in touch with us. You can ring the Warden, Keeley Spate on 01980 629835 or email email@example.com
In December 2011, a group of volunteers came out to the reserve to help coppice an area of scrub along the disused railway embankment. Certain areas of the scrub are becoming over mature and leggy, or are dying off. Coppicing is a good way of re-invigorating the trees, while also helping to increase biodiversity by creating diversity in structure and age.
Coppicing an area of scrub looks dramatic, but the little stools which are left are still living and will sprout new, thick bushy growth in the years to follow.
We had a visit from a lady from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in Winter last year, to look at our habitats and the potential of future work together. Although she was very impressed with the amount of flower rich chalk grassland we have created, she was really pleased when she came across the area of coppice along the railway. Although the coppice had one seasons worth of growth, there was still lots of bare, loose ground, which she said was ideal for hibernating queen bumble bees!
After another season of growth, there is now no bare ground, and the coppice has really grown thick and bushy. Much of the scrub is composed of blackthorn, the food plant for the brown hairstreak butterfly. This species is a priority for conservation as it is in decline in the UK - mainly because of hedgerow removal and annual hedge flailing, which removes the eggs. We are fortunate to have a colony on the reserve.
After two years of growth, the coppiced area is really starting to thicken up - Keeley Spate RSPB
The butterflies require young growth to lay their eggs on, and older growth becomes unsuitable and unused. I was out checking a few things the other week, and after just a very quick look, I noticed several brown hairstreak eggs in the new growth of blackthorn. This is really good news for our brown hairstreak colony! We will continue coppicing along the disused railway each winter, so we will continue to provide spaces for hibernating bumblebees and breeding brown hairstreak every year. Our next coppicing day along the disused railway is in Januaury - why not come along and help?
Two Brown hairstreak eggs in the new growth of coppiced blackthorn - Keeley Spate RSPB
Would you like the opportunity to be part of our new butterfly habitat creation at Winterbourne Downs?
We have spent the past couple of weeks creating the large chalk banks that will mimic the steep slopes of the Wiltshire Downland. Now we need to sow them with butterfly food plants and other chalk grassland species. This is where we need your help! We have organised two dates for collecting and sowing seed. If you are interested in helping with either or both of these dates, please email me or leave a message on here. firstname.lastname@example.org
SEED COLLECTING AT WWT COCKEY DOWN
When: Friday 8th November 2pm-5pm
Meeting at: The Duck Inn, Laverstock. SP1 1PU http://goo.gl/maps/tLSuh
Bring: Stout shoes, suitable clothing for the weather
We will be meeting in the Duck Inn carpark in Laverstock, and walking to the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust reserve, Cockey Down, along the public footpath. Once on the reserve we will be collecting a variety of chalk downland seeds for later use on our butterfly banks. For those who fancy it, we will pop in to the pub afterwards for some refreshments - it would be rude not to! Please be aware that this task involves a 15 minute walk in and out of the reserve, and some uphill walking.
SEED SOWING AND STICK COLLECTING
When: Friday 15th November 10am onwards
Meeting at: RSPB Manor Farm yard, Newton Tony SP4 0HA http://goo.gl/maps/xeLY6
Bring: Stout shoes or wellies, suitable clothing for the weather, lunch.
We will be working on one of our new butterfly banks along the disused railway. The first task will be to clear debris from where the digger has been working, and have a bonfire if we collect enough. The second task will be to sow the bank with chalk downland seed. This is an exciting opportunity to help with are butterfly habitat creation work on part of the reserve not open to the public. Please be aware that this task will involve a 15 minute walk to the work site, and be prepared to carry out work on some steep slopes