Walkers down the Pads footpath will have noticed the cattle in the ex-Gleesons Field following our opening of a crossing point across Lucy Brook. Unfortunately some person unknown had opened a small temporary gate we had constructed in the boundary of that field. The cattle have found this gap and hence are in the wider Flora area. Once there they are not so easy to get back! However, they are no doing much harm, although knocking over all our lynchet marker posts, and there is plenty of grass.
Hedgehog seen shuffling down Big Meadow parallel to the Pads footpath on the afternoon of 22nd November
The Hedge Working Party (HWP) will meet for the first time this season on Wednesday 20th November at 9am (or later if convenient for you) at the Shed. Whilst we have some volunteers with hedge laying experience, everyone is welcome to either learn how to lay and/or help out, for example, by carting excess growth away to the bonfire site.
The HWP will meet every Wednesday at 9am throughout the winter except on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day (we are not obsessive!) unless prevented by bad weather. If it is very wet, snowing or frostbound then its off – if you are unsure ring Ian on 078121 970595. For those of you who have to work during the ‘working week’ the HWP will meet on the first Saturday of each month at 9am, i.e. 7th December, 4th January, and 1st February (lets leave 1st March as an option for now).
The HWP will work for a ‘long morning’ from 9am up to about 2pm but do start and depart at your convenience, pleasure or exhaustion level!
The task of the HWP is to manage hedges and trees around the Fairfield ‘estate’. Specifically this winter we aim to lay sections of the hedge between the Orchard and the Pads footpath, trim back the sides of the hedge to keep the Pads footpath clear, lay the western hedge of the Flora ‘West Field’ and pollard, coppice or fell trees within the Orchard as agreed by the Flora and Orchard Group (FOG). So, there is plenty to do.
Any queries contact Ian on 07811 970595 or at email@example.com
Do come along if you can.
Ian Procter, Volunteer Organsier
A heron was one of the first birds to take advantage of the new Fauna reserve. Almost as soon as the contractors had left from digging out the pond in the Hay Meadow marsh, a heron was investigating. So Cromwell’s Pond is a good place to look for them, but only when there are few people about and you can approach with stealth. It was just before 7.30 this morning when I spotted one. Heron often seem to me to be hunkered down looking grumpy. In contrast, this heron was stood up to its belly in the water, neck erect, beak pointing forward. It looked very smart and handsome. After a few minutes, someone approached along the path. The heron’s head turned to look and as she got closer off it flew.
On 3rd November a Perigrine Falcon flew low near Cromwell Pool. This may be a new record for the area. It was reported to me by Linda Renshaw. She also identified 1 Jay, 1 Robin and 2 Long-tailed tits in the Orchard. The Jay seems to be a resident of the area now. It will be interesting to see if it breeds next season.
A red pheasant observed in the Big Meadow alongside Lucy Brook this afternoon. And there was that jay again!
Here is Jonathan’s message
There’ll be a volunteer session in Fairfield Orchard, Fauna and Flora this Saturday, November 9th, commencing at 10.00am and finishing at 1.00pm. Please do come along if you can spare any or all of that time out of your Saturday.
You may detect something of a Flora bias in this month’s list of tasks, as we make our first tentative moves onto our new land. By the end of play we should all be able to identify Fields 1, 2, 3 and 4, and how often do you get the chance to say that?
1.Plant Woodland Trust hedge saplings in
a) gaps in the Pads hedge alongside the Big Meadow
b) gaps in the Pads hedges alongside the Flora fields
c) and if we have spare saplings after the above, there is an obvious absence of hedge between Big Meadow and the Hay meadow.
2.Remove existing Flora boundary fence whilst preserving it for re-use. And in the unlikely event of time permitting, we can start to re-erect the fence as the woodland extension boundary with Field 3.
3.Mark out lynchets with posts.
4.Dig out and re-erect old boundary stone in the Flora fields.
5.Retrieve stone from damaged wall alongside Aldcliffe Road and store safely nearby.
6.Remove corrugated sheets in Field 3 and transport them to Fauna.
7.Move old fencing from Pony Wood. Also remove an old gate between Fields 2 and 3 to a dump we are creating.
8.Mark with posts
a) manhole covers in Fields 3 and 4
b) field drain in Field 1
9.Re-erect post in Field 1 knocked over by sheep.
Meanwhile at the Other Events Of Interest desk, I’ve been asked to pass on some information regarding Grange Fell Care Day, which takes place on November 13th.
“Join us in Grange over Sands for another large scale day of conservation volunteering and cake! There’ll be lots of activities in the woods including walling, coppicing, tree management and path work. It’s free to take part and there’s a task to suit all levels of fitness and mobility. Booking deadline Friday 8 November.”
For full information on this Friends of the Lake District event, follow this link…
And that’s your lot from me for this month.
Do please come along this Saturday if you can possibly make it and let’s *really* get to grips with counting Flora Fields 1 through to 4 inclusively.
Graham couldn’t have a picked a more glorious morning for doing a winter flush count in Fauna. Paul and I went along with him to provide extra pairs of eyes. Hardly a surprise given the amount of rain recently, but the marshes are holding a very good amount of water. Graham got first-hand evidence of this when his wellie sank into a particularly boggy bit and water plus liquid mud started to run down inside it.
Two snipe were seen in School Pond, but the Big Meadow marsh was again the star. 42 snipe counted here, particularly encouraging as the numbers should build as the winter progresses. We also disturbed a brown hare. It shot out of the north end of the marsh, wheeled left and ran down by the fence on the Pads path following the edge of the marsh. It bobbed back into the marsh, but then spotted us again and turned away to carry on southwards between the Pads path and the marsh edge. My initial glimpse was of its white tail going away. but then we were treated to very clear views once it was running along out of the reeds.
Richard Storton (RSPB) has also been in Fauna this morning, planting a few extra phragmites in Upper Sowerholme. He was pleased to report that the seedlings we had planted in August 2012 seem to be establishing quite well. Some are already approaching 1m in height. He spotted 4 snipe (refugees from our earlier sweep of Big Meadow?). He also caught a glimpse of a woodcock.