BAT CONSERVATION EFFORT CONTINUES.
A lot of effort is given by our group into the preservation of our indigenous bat populations. Each year all our installed boxes in many woodlands in our local countryside are visited and cleaned.
A Common Pipistrelle bat is found inside this box on one of our seasonal inspections.
The populations are recorded and the results forwarded to Natural England each year to allow national population records to be constructed. This year in late summer the wet weather made undertaking the inspections extremely difficult. Ladder work to these high levels in the woodland canopy is extremely hazardous in damp conditions so dry days are necessary for our teams to work safely. The task is a very physical one so strong people are required to carry and manoeuvre the ladders around the woodlands.
Helpers carry ladders through each woodland.
A team member steadies the ladder.
The continuous wet weather delayed this activity and this resulted in the number of bats found to be less than last year but we did find up to 5 bats in some boxes and evidence of use in most of them.
BARN OWLS CONTINUE TO FLOURISH.
This year was also less successful for the number of breeding barn owls found in comparison with last year. The early dry spring and summer weather reduced the number of prey species breeding which in turn impacted on the food supply available for breeding barn owls.
A young barn owl found this year.
One of the successfully reared barn owl chicks being ringed during a summer visit.
DORMICE CONSERVATION EFFORT CONTINUES.
The poor year for bats and barn owls impacted also on our dormouse conservation effort this year. Monthly box checks were undertaken by our licenced teams from April until November but yielded mostly wood mouse, bird and insect activity. Dormouse occupation was found to be scarce. All signs of a dormouse presence were recorded. Seasonal weather patterns have a large impact on dormouse population activity.
Team members visit all woodlands where dormouse activity has been detected to inspect the installed boxes.
Any nests found were examined to determine the occupants and all live and breeding creatures were returned safely to their boxes to continue their lives without further interruption.
One of the many nesting wood mice found on our monthly woodland tours.
RESTORATION OF POND LYE SNCI MEADOW.
The Site of Nature Conservation Importance at Pond Lye continues to make progress in our effort to restore it to allow previous distinctive meadow species to return after our years of brush clearance. The floral display this summer was impressive and attracted hundreds of insect and other wildlife species to the area.
The meadow was a blaze of different colours with insects of all descriptions attracted to them.
The meadow appearance was a moving feast as the season progressed with different coloured flowers blooming.
The work required to maintain this improvement has been a considerable one for our volunteers. The annual cut took place in August with initially with scythes and brush cutters as the anthill punctuated terrain made other methods of cutting difficult. The volunteers worked extremely hard in the anthill area and cut all meadow growth until we reached a point where we were able to request help from one of our volunteers with a tractor and cutter to tackle the flatter main area of the meadow which was less affected.
The progress he made with this was phenomenal and within two weeks the work was completed leaving only the raking up and disposal of the hay and the cutting of the tree lined borders the tractor was unable to reach.
We were very grateful for the help from our volunteer with the tractor and cutter which saved us much time & effort.
The borders were completed by our brush cutting and scythe operators but the final tidying of the site and hay collection proved to be a tediously long job for the volunteers as they were frustrated by a continuous end-of-season spell of wet weather.
The meadow edges were completed by volunteers using scythes and brush cutters.
The cuttings are heaped into piles and then disposed of on completion.
RESTORATION OF A NATURE RESERVE.
The restoration of the nature reserve at Talbot Field in Hassocks continues. Following the clearance of spreading brush in the early months of 2019 new flora growth was released from the canopy that restrained it. The sunshine was able to penetrate the young tree foliage to encourage the released ground flora to re-establish itself. With the new growth in the cleared reserve comes the exciting prospect that new wild flower species can be introduced to enrich the area still further for nature.
With the arrival of spring the new woodland carpet of vegetation appears.
The owners of the site, Hassocks Parish Council, generously agreed to the purchase of additional bat and bird boxes to increase survival opportunities for wildlife. These have been mounted on existing trees in the reserve and in the western woodland that already provides welcome sanctuary to many bat and bird species. All boxes are regularly monitored and maintained by The Woodland, Flora & Fauna Group.
Photographs of some of the site wildlife species that are benefitting from this work.
It cannot be emphasised enough how such areas provide a life-line to dwindling wildlife and flora species in an increasingly hostile world for nature. We therefore thank the Parish Council for their support for our work here. Hopefully we can maximise the natural environmental contribution provided by this small but valuable area.
RESTORATION OF A WOODLAND POND.
Work at the woodland pond restoration in Sayers Common has been paused this year following the clearance of tree roots and runaway reed growth kindly undertaken by the landowners last year to assist us. This is allowing the area to naturally settle again. A viewing day was held in April for all the volunteers who had given their time over many years to restore it. The landowners generously provided refreshments and all attendees showed appreciation for the assistance they had been given to finally complete it. Work will resume shortly to keep this important area in good condition.
The pond remains a valuable haven for wildlife.
TWO GROUP TALKS HELD THIS YEAR.
Two talks were held this year. They were both given by environmentalists and authors. The first was in April given by David Bangs entitled ‘Land of the Brighton Line’ and the second was in August given by Professor Trevor Beebee entitled ‘Climate Change & British Wildlife’. Both were excellent talks and very well attended.
The Chairman with David Bangs at the talk in April with his newly published book.
Trevor Beebee gives his talk in August to a packed audience.
We thank all our supporters for their interest in our activities and our valuable volunteers for their help. If you too would like to volunteer please contact Michael Nailard. Telephone: 01273 834001.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Group Website: www.thewoodlandfloraandfaunagroup.co.uk