A few recent sightings from around the main trail. Starting up at Binn Green around the feeding area there are good numbers of Goldfinches and Greenfinches, a couple of Brambling and good numbers of Coal, Great and Blue Tit. Also look out for Wren, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Last week it looked like the numbers of Siskin were building, however, this weekend there were very few to be seen. Watch this space for updates on this; last year the numbers and the noise from the amount of Siskins at Binn Green was quite something.
Looking over to Alderman's Brow the Ravens are being seen regularly, as well as being seen from around the main trail displaying and cronking. There was also a Kestrel over Aldermans at the weekend. Around the reservoirs there were two Dippers flying down the Ashway Gap spillway and over the res.
From Ashway Gap there have been views throughout the weekend of the Peregrines. If you’re at Ashway Gap you might also notice that we’ve put in a brand new piece of habitat in the form of a mixed hedgerow of Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Hazel and Field Maple. We’ve planted about 500 trees here altogether. The stats are that since the second world war we’ve lost over 50% of hedgerows in England so it's good to do something that contribues to reversing this decline.
So why are hedgerows so important ? A mature hedgerow really supports a diversity of wildlife. Birds such as Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Blackbird and Robins will of course use hedgerows for nesting. Hedgerows also support birds that like scrub and open woodland such as Dunnock and Whitethroat, as well as providing habitat for ground-nesting species such as Grey Partridge. Our hedge, once established, will be a good food source of haws, sloes and crab apples.
And it’s not just birds that benefit from hedgerows. They're good for bats too as they'll use hedgerows to forage for insects. Bats also follow tree lines and hedgerows when moving between feeding areas and roosts. Our hedge will also provide habitat for small mammals, which in turn will provide food for Kestrels, the decline of which has been linked to the loss of hedgerows. Simply put, a hedgerow is a fantastic habitat for wildlife.
Back to what’s about at Dove Stone. Moving on to around Chew Brook a Grey Heron is regularly at the foot of the brook where it meets the main res. Best sighting by far though is the large group of Brambling that are still around, moving between Chew Piece and the memorial woodland Life-for-a-Life area. Last count there were approximately sixty Brambling in a mixed flock of Chaffinches. This particular part of Dove Stone has some lovely, old mature Beeches and it's the beech masts, of course, that the Brambling will be feeding from. As the photo below shows, they've such a lovely colour. Top bird !