Friday, 30 July 2010

Ringing at Ipsley

We had a good ringing session on Sunday at Ipsley Alders totalling 31 birds (detailed below). Highlight was a juvenile female Green Woodpecker.

Green Woodpecker
Great-spotted woodpecker
Blackbird 2
Whitethroat 4 new & 1 retrap
Dunnock 2 new 1 retrap
Blue Tit 5
Great Tit 3 new 1 retrap
Blackcap 4
Chiffchaff 3 new 1 retrap

Tony, Ipsley Alders

Monday, 26 July 2010

All great at Feckenham

Now that we are in full flush of summer the reserve is looking fantastic.

Our six young Galloways are now on site and munching their way through the southern end. They have plenty to go at and when they've had their fill there we'll move them on to another meadow. It doesn't look likely that we'll get a mow this year but that's not a problem. If we can get more cattle we can selectively graze and this will actually be better than having tractors on site - in previous years they've proved too damaging. These Galloway youngsters are lightweights and so hopefully won't poach the ground as much as the heavyweight Herefords and Long Horns we've had before.

There are masses of butterflies and in particular we've seen significantly bigger numbers of ringlet, meadow brown and currently small whites which are in 'plague' proportions. Small skipper are also in good numbers but to date no large or Essex skipper. Yesterday I photographed this pair of green veined white. The female was hardly dry from her emergence before the male took advantage - nothing like getting in early!

Plenty of southern hawker and emperor dragonfly and literally hundreds of assorted damselfly. Not so many broad bodied chasers and few black tailed.

We have a breeding pair of dunnock and a young family of willow warbler near to the main hide. Our kingfisher is back making frequent visits before heading off towards the Bow Brook.
All in all everything is looking good!

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Smite garden update

It seems that an update on the happenings in the Smite garden is long overdue - so here goes!

Firstly, I can happily report that around a month or two ago the garden tool shed was subject to a thorough spring clean - no more rummaging around in cluttered corners trying to locate those elusive secateurs! Additionally, in a volunteer group effort the greenhouse was given a clean out and make-over with two neat rows of tomato plants being put in. The plants are gowing well and are promising a good crop of tomatoes for the future.

In preparation for the impending open day an outing was made to Tiddesley Wood to collect fresh woodchips - to spread over and spruce up the lower garden paths. Meanwhile we've also been doing the usual ongoing jobs of weeding and trimming back any overhanging hedgerows and shrubs - which can sometimes be more eventful than one would expect. Last week, whilst pulling on an old tyre full of dried grass, I accidentally disturbed a nest of wasps who weren't best pleased! Nevertheless both Penny and I managed to escape by quickly running and hiding in a nearby office building.

Despite the recent dry weather everything is doing well in the garden. In the top garden the blackcurrants and goosebrries are brimming with berries and turnips, cabbage and corn and the cucumber plants are coming along well. Fingers crossed we may also see some carrots emerge in the next few weeks. Down in the bottom gardn the pea plants have grown and filled their wicker frames and a second crop of radish has matured in the smaller tyre planter.

Finally, although any recent visitors would have surely noticed, I'll mention that the large tractor tyres in the courtyard were filled with soil, planted with squash and corn and are currently looking fantastic.

Right now we're putting all our efforts into getting ready for the July open day on Sunday 25th (1pm-4pm) which is sure to be a great success.

Mary, Lower Smite Farm

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

June Moths at Upton Warren

We were out at Upton Warren again on 22 June to survey moths.

In summary there were 391 moths trapped of 90 species using two 125mv and one 15w actinic skinner.

Two moths, a micro coleophora mayrella, and a macro, figure of eighty Tethea ocularis were new for the site. The reed bed specialities included southern, obscure and silky wainscots. Two hawk moths - eyed hawk moth and elephant hawk moth - were trapped, and large nutmeg Apamea anceps was a particularly good find.

John, Upton Warren

(Photos from above: figure of eighty, obscure wainscot, large nutmeg)