On Wednesday 29th May we are holding a very special event - Creatures of the Night!
We will be meeting at the reserve at 8pm for what we hope will be an evening full of surprises! As the sun starts to set, we will take a walk around the reserve. At this time of day stone-curlew become active and very vocal - hopefully we will hear their eerie call. We have roe deer, barn owl, brown hare and bats too, so who knows what we will bump in to! We will also have a moth trap on the go which will be ready to investigate at the end of the walk. Don't forget to bring a torch and warm clothes.
To find out more or to book your place on this event please contact the warden on: 01980 629835 or email email@example.com
Click on the link below to find see the event poster!
0880.Creature of the Night 2013.pdf
Spring has finally made it, and as the weather warms up, flowers now have a chance to push though the ground, and bees and butterflies are starting to emerge. Those of you who follow the news may have heard about how the prolonged winter has been effecting stone-curlew, and other wildlife. Stone-curlew start arriving in this country from mid march, usually when the weather is warming up and insect food is becoming available. Sadly, because the weather stayed so cold, there has not been adequate insect food, and many of the early arriving stone-curlews have starved to death. What this means for the 2013 season is still unclear, but we are hopeful that the majority of birds will have held back completing their migration until the recent weather change.
By now we would normally be seeing most of our stone-curlew plots occupied, and several nests would have been found. As I write this, the birds are still very mobile, and many have not settled down yet. However, one of our pairs are now starting to act like they are preparing to get ready to lay, and I am very hopeful that by the end of the weekend we will have our first stone-curlew nest of the season.
Last week we heard the first chiffchaff of the year, singing away along the disused railway line. Since then, many more have started to filter through. We are also starting to see swallows arriving in larger numbers, and this lunch time we watched one collecting mud from a puddle outside our office window. Wheatear are everywhere now, and just this afternoon I counted four sitting on one small stretch of fence line. Fence lines on farmland and around rabbit holes are a classic places to find these birds, so keep your eyes peeled on your travels.
Hello it's Harriet again. I went for a walk around the nature trail to see what birds were active despite the chilly wind we've had this week. It was fairly quiet, compared to my last spotting trip a few weeks ago when it was a little warmer. For those that regularly walk the trail, you might be interested to know what I saw so you know what to keep an eye out for.....
In Beaumont's Wood, there were: Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackird, Chaffinch and Goldfinch
A lot of the birds were spotted along the edge of the trail next to the wild flower meadow, dotting in and out of the wild flower meadow obviously looking for insects and seeds in the soil. The field had recently been harrowed so this obviously brought a lot of things to the surface providing a feast for the birds!
I also saw a pair of Mistle Thrush in the Wild Flower Meadow which took me a while to ID and in the end, Keeley came to identity it correctly for me!
Along the Disused Railway Line I spotted more Blue Tit, Blackbird and Great Tit as well as Coal Tit and Wren.
So despite the cold, there was plenty of activity which helped me to improve my ID skills and see these lovely birds.
I also went with Keeley to Normanton Down, another site nearby that is monitored by the RSPB, to look for Lapwings and to see what sort of activity they were getting up to. We saw nearly 200 birds on the field, with definitely two pairs displaying, something I have never seen before. The male puts his head down and scrapes the soil with his feet which is his way of suggesting a nesting site to the female. Although they aren't near to breeding at the moment we hope soon (within the next month) they will be. In the mean time, we have to keep checking on them to monitor their behaviour and hopefully determine how many pairs are likely to breed on the site.
Hello! New blogger here....I am a volunteer at Manor Farm so I thought I'd introduce myself and update you on what I've been doing since I've started here. I have recently finished a master's in conservation and I wanted to keep building my knowledge and experience and this role allows me to do just this. I've been here about a month and a half now and beginning to get to know the reserve quite well. Part of my work is involved with the wood along the nature trail where some viewing areas have been created to allow light into the wood and to allow visitors to look onto the wildflower meadow and beyond. Keeley and I have been clearing the ground ivy in these viewing areas which will hopefully lead to some woodland plants growing.
While walking through the trail, I have seen so many birds and I have to admit my bird ID skills are not the best so working here gives me a great opportunity to practice them! I am looking forward to improving these further throughout the year and maybe learning to recognise a few bird songs too! My passion is botany and again it is something I am looking forward to improving on while I'm here; I know a lot of work has gone into encouraging chalk plants and wildflowers so spring and summer will be an exciting time to see what flowers are on the reserve.
Well, that's all I have to say for the moment but I will post here again soon with more work updates and things I've seen while out on the reserve.
Like most places this week, we have had our fair share of snow these past few days. Not only does the snow create a beautiful landscape, but it also makes walking around the reserve very interesting as you can look for footprints and workout what has been out and about. Here are a few pictures I took while walking yesterday.
A wintry vista, looking over the Winterbourne in to Magpie Field where we have sheep grazing at the moment. Since the Winterbourne has risen, this field has been attracting up to 120 Lapwing - although there were not so many about in the snow.
A pair of Brown Hare running side by side through the snow
Roe deer print
This roe deer sat tight when i passed near by - it didn't want to move from its sheltered spot in the wild bird seed mixture!
I later realised there was more than one deer hiding in the vegetation as several heads started to pop up.
And this small shape is a brown hare, reluctant to move from its spot. The fact that the wildlife did not move away from my presence probably indicates that they are really feeling the effects of the cold weather. Even the birds didn't want to fly away. It was a good reminder of how hard this time of year can be for wildlife, and how much birds rely on the extra food we put out for them. This is a particularly lean time of year for them, with most of the autumn fruits already eaten, and no insects about, food is hard to come by. I will be putting some extra treats out in my garden - don't forget to look after your birds too!