Friday, 29 January 2010

Yesterday on Ipsley Alders were two little egrets around the north pond, also good flocks of goldfinch, redpoll and siskin.

I spoke with Rob regarding the cattle - the TB test were all negative so that is good news - he is going to return the seven cows within the next couple of weeks.

There may be a problem with Blacksoils brook in so far as the culvert that goes under Alders Drive is blocked with rubbish washed down by melt water and recent rain - the brook has overflowed but only into the reserve so far as I can see. I will not be able to get to it until the first weekend in February - provided there is no heavy rain there should not be a problem.

Michael, Ipsley Alders
(Photo of Ipsley Alders by Tony Kelly)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

What a 'litter' snow....

I managed to get over to the Pen Orchard meadows last week (Thursday 21st) and spent 4 hours picking up the litter left over from the sledging season. I only managed to clean up field A (but this was the worst field) before I gave up. The litter was scattered over a wide area and there were a lot of small pieces.

See the photograph of the litter collection just from field A before I loaded it in to my car. I managed to get all of it into my car (except for the long piece of wood) and I safely dumped it at my local amenities tip in Stourbridge. It was equivalent to 7 / 8 black bin liner bags.

The collection included: plastic drinks containers, glass bottles, tin cans, broken plastic sledges, broken plastic greenhouse trays, a broken plastic wheel hub, numerous plastic bags and plastic sheets, a shattered "plastic bread tray" (you would be surprised how many small pieces it broke up in to), 2 shattered corrugated "for sale" boards (that's what the long piece of wood was for),
a metal "no smoking" sign, a shattered plastic "garage forecourt advertising board", 2 punctured inflatable rings for use on the beach, a broken body surfer board, sweet / chocolate wrappers and 2 cigarette lighters.

I also found a bunch of keys which someone had lost and as it contained an Halifax insurance return tab I handed it in for return to its owner. I was told there may be a £10 reward fee from the insurance firm but I will have to wait for them to contact me. If this is so it could be used to buy some chocolates for the volunteers!

All in a days work for the WWT volunteers?

John, SE Worcs Group

Friday, 22 January 2010

Ringing at Grovely Dingle

We've had another session at Grovely this week. It was a foggy start and didn't clear until 11am. It wasn't particularly productive although we caught 10 birds, inc 5 great tit, 2 nuthatch, 2 blue tit and a robin.
We also saw great-spotted woodpecker, grey wagtail, coal tit, jackdaw, raven, mallard, blackbird & carrion crow.

Tony, Grovely Dingle

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Ringing at Ipsley

2009 was a really good year for ringing at the Trust's Ipsley Alders reserve, near Redditch. We ringed over 540 birds throughout the year.

We tried to target warblers more this year, and it seemed to work. We put some fat in holes drilled in logs to try and encourage other things.

Obviously blue tit pulli (chicks in the nest) are in the boxes, but we do seem to catch plenty - 2009 was very good in terms of fledging success.

We'd like to set up a winter feeding station and see if we could get a good sample of siskin (& maybe redpoll), but it's too expensive for us to provide all the food and pay for the ringing. We're looking at applying for a grant to cover food costs (nuts, sunflower hearts etc, not seed), so will have to wait and see.

Tony, Ispley Alders
(siskin image by Rosemary Winnall)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Moths of Upton Warren

We've just submitted our annual moth count report for Upton Warren to the Trust.

In all we recorded an excellent 2671 moths of 295 species on seven trapping sessions. Of these 103 were new for the reserve and 192 were confirmations. This takes the number of lepidoptera records for the reserve from 348 to 451.

In addition I have been able to report a number of caddis fly's attracted to the light traps to the Trusts Record.

We're hoping to continue our recording at Upton Warren from April.

John, Upton Warren
(photos large emerald, the magpie, elephant hawk moths)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Bird ringing at Grovely Dingle

We got out into Grovely over the weekend and managed to do some bird ringing for a couple of hours, having set up a (nut) feeding area to see if we can attract a few things and see what's there.

We managed to catch usual tits, a treecreeper, blackbird, robin, wren and this splendid female sparrowhawk. We also saw grey wagtail, woodcock, great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch. We also saw a deer, which may have been roe, but we're not great with deer ID.

Also chatted to a walker, who said there had been a dead little egret (near pond by canal) since November, but we cannot verify this.

We thoroughly enjoy ringing and are working on several project for WWT and BTO. You do need training to become a ringer - check out the BTO's website if you're interested


Tony & Leigh, Grovely Dingle

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Logs in the snow

Didn't we have fun at the weekend?! Our log sales at Tiddesley Wood still went ahead despite everywhere looking somewhat whiter than we'd hoped. Still, good old camaraderie, a roaring fire and a decent amount of customers meant we had a great time and raised very valuable funds for the Trust.

Don't forget our next log sales which is specially themed as Valentine's Volunteers. If you'd like to join in the fun - and perhaps find Mr or Mrs Right - check out the events directory of our website.

Keep warm!
Harry, SE Worcs local group

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Ne'er the twain shall meet - we hope!

It may be quite chilly but there was plenty at the Moors at Upton Warren on Monday.

The Bittern was showing appropriately enough in front of the Bittern hide for a very short time and the foxes were resting on the frozen pool some 200m from where the image was captured.

Lets hope they never meet!

Stuart, Upton Warren

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Bee hotels

Our OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) West Midlands contact has been to see our 'bee hotel' and we've found lots of bees!

As part of their research across the region we've had a 'bee hotel' throughout the summer. This has been specifically designed to help a range of bees find a home. Our hotel was taken apart and we were able to see the cocoons that bees make to allow them to sleep throughout the winter. We discovered 2 different types of leafcutter bees as well as red mason bees.

Leafcutter bees are amazing - they collect fragments of leaves to contstruct individual nest cells. They cut the leaves to make a smooth semicircle about 20mm in diameter. They're then used to build up a cell within a tube-like nest (either one they've already built or artificial like ours). Each leaf-lined cell is provisioned with nectar and pollen, an egg laid into it and sealed. A nest tunnel may have up to 1 dozen or more of these cells. Once finished, the adult seals the end and leaves nature to take its course.

You'll be pleased to hear that although we've removed the cells from the tube the bees will remain safe until the weather warms in late spring. Can't wait to see them flying around in the gardenin the summer. And we're all looking forward to receiving our next bee totel this year.

Mary, Lower Smite Farm