Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spring at Feckenham

Well Spring has really 'sprung' ... this week anyway. 

Yesterday (23rd), the temperature rose to c18 degrees and it was just like a summers day. The warm weather has tempted out our first butterflies of the year. We spotted 8 small tortoiseshell, 3 peacock, 4 male brimstone and a single female (distinctive by its cream rather than bright citrus yellow colouring). 

The reserve is looking good for this time of year and new lush growth is strong with cowslips showing their buds already. The trees are begining to change colour as the buds start to burst. New leaves on some willows are already bright green and the sallow catkins are a sure sign of spring. It won't be too long before our blackthorn is in blossom; hawthorn buds are beginning to burst. 

We counted 20 or so frogs last week in the pool margins and on inspection found significant amounts of spawn. Even yesterday they were still very vocal and I expect to find more spawn in the next few days. 

There were a few chiffchaff singing today and we had common snipe still around last week. Our resident kingfisher has not been seen since early January so who knows what has happened to him. I hope he is okay after the harsh weather. Our little grebes mate has arrived and they are now calling each other on a regular basis.

This worker wasp was buzzing around in the Alders hide where, in the past, we've had some spectacular wasp nests hanging from the roof.

Our hedge work is complete and is looking good. All we need to do is watch to see how it develops over this summer.

So, who got the last quiz question right?  Well done Roger!  It was of course a hazel catkin.  I said it was easy.  Have a look at this one and see if you can identify it.  A clue is that it won't be around just yet but I am expecting it soon. 

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Monday, 14 March 2011

Looking forward...

Broadmoor Wood will look wonderful soon!!

Birmingham and Solihull conservation volunteers have been carrying out the annual coppicing cycle and removing brambles from alongside the entrance track. The resultant show of bluebells will be excellent.

The first celandines are already out!! In a week or so the marsh marigold will look spectacular in the marshy pool edges. Bluebells are well up already, although the flower spikes aren’t showing yet.

Andy, Broadmoor Wood

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Dormice at Hunthouse Wood

Myself, Nick, Joshua, Helen and Gwen (most of us are Worcestershire Wildlife Trust members) undertook a hazelnut search of Hunthouse Woods in November 2010 and found five nuts that had clearly been eaten by dormice. This was the first record of dormice using the woods since 1983.

We decided to set up a dormouse tube study to monitor the size and health of the local population and send this information to the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme (organized by The People’s Trust for Endangered Species). This information will also be used to feed into woodland management plans for Hunthouse with the aid of Nick Benbow, the reserve warden.

So on Sunday morning myself, Helen, Nick, Joshua and Gwen, along with Nick Benbow, his wife and Chloe Elding (a local resident) made up 50 dormouse tubes and installed them in suitable habitat within Hunthouse Wood. It was a crisp sunny day, which illuminated the woodland beautifully, making the work all the more enjoyable. 

We plan to go back to the woodland several times this year to see how many dormice are using the tubes.  We'll keep you updated!

Elizabeth, dormouse volunteer