News archive

July 2017

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Turtle Doves and Cuckoos

Turtle Doves and Cuckoos

At least two turtle doves were calling on the Water Meadows recently and could be seen perching on the telephone wires. I had not realised before that they have two broods, so it would appear that they were identifying their territories.

According to the BTO six new recruits have joined the Cuckoo Tracking Project. The birds are fitted with 2g tags which have the advantage of being lighter, but are harder to charge as they are smaller, and transmission is not as good when the bird is in cover. One of these new birds is still loitering in Sherwood Forest, but the others have all crossed the Channel and one, named Samson, is already in Burkino Faso. Two of the older birds have also already crossed the Sahara. Such amazing journeys.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

News from the Weald Reserves

News from the Weald Reserves

Summer is in full swing on our reserves and with it an array of wild flowers and associated insects can be seen. This time of year is a quiet time for birds, the majority will have just fledged young or our late summer migrants such as nightjar will still have chicks in the nest. So its best to turn your attention in the summer at some of the other species found on our reserves.

Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant at this time of year, so look out for two of our biggest UK dragonfly species the emperor and the golden ringed dragonfly, the emperor can be seen defending territory over our ponds while the golden ringed is usually found on woodland rides or streams. Two of the butterfly species that you should look out for are the silver-washed fritillary, and white admiral which can be seen in the shadier parts of the wood looking to lay eggs on honeysuckle, its food plant.

Other wildlife highlights over the reserves include a honey buzzard at Broadwater bringing out total bird list to 94 since 2007! Hobby, raven and nightjar have all been recorded at Tudeley Woods.

Broadwater Warren

It's been a busy few months at Broadwater. As part of our 10th anniversary we have been constructing a few things to help with education and connecting people with nature as well as building homes for wildlife. Over two Fridays we had about 30 kids from the 1st Groombridge Scouts help build some bug hotels in the car park, using old pallets and a variety of materials from old plant pots to bits of wood. These "hotels" will provide a perfect home for lots of wildlife from frogs and hedgehogs to solitary bees and other insects. You can easily build one yourself using materials you might have lying in your shed or garden.

Tudeley Woods

The 1st of July was National Meadows day, a day which was set up by Plant Life to celebrate the meadows that we have left. Unfortunately since 1930 we have lost 98% of our wildflower meadows in the UK. This has had a dramatic effect not only on the wildflowers but also the insects and pollinating species associated with them. We started the day by carrying out some cutting of some bramble and thistles which can out compete other species, by cutting and removing the arisings we should reduce the nutrients and hopefully improve the meadow for wildflowers. We then carried out some surveying of the meadow. Our project to increase Brakeybank meadow back to its former boundary started two years ago and now the area which was created has 60 flowering species of plant in it and was alive with grasshoppers/crickets and bees using the birds-foot trefoil. The pond which was restored at the same time looks amazing, seven species of dragonfly were recorded at the weekend on the pond as well as newts and water stick insects.

Family Wildlife Ramble Saturday 29 July 1030am to 1.30pm Price: £5 (£3 for members and children) Booking essential

Join us for a stroll around Broadwater Warren to hunt for the wildlife that makes its home here and use our new pond dipping platform. Armed with nets, binoculars and collecting pots, we will be exploring the nature reserve and searching out insects, birds, reptiles and more. This is a good chance to get close up with creatures you may not have even known were here and learn more about how they survive out in the wild. A fascinating and enjoyable day for children and adults alike. We will cover around two miles of the reserve along sometimes uneven ground, so please bring appropriate footwear. Families welcome, but dogs should stay at home for this one.

10th Anniversary Celebration Saturday 19 August from 9am Price: £8 (£6 for members and children) at Broadwater Warren

We'd like you to join us for an event to celebrate the wonderful wildlife that can be found on the reserve. To celebrate we will be running activities that all the family can enjoy. At 11am or 3pm take the Explorer's Trail. What natural treasures can you find? Sweep for bugs in the grass and dip for minibeasts in the pond. Refreshments of cakes and drinks will be provided.