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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Wildlife Gardening the easy way.

In preparing for our village entry for the Britain in Bloom competition I have suggested we should try to promote wildlife life gardening. I am copying advice given by RSPB which is a good review of how we can do that. Follow the links given for more information.

RSPB email.
Let parts of your lawn grow long this summer - it will provide a home for minibeasts and save you time too! Find out more here: Do you have a patch of long grass - what bugs and beasties have you noticed there?

By leaving our front lawn to grow naturally this year we have now found 12 wild orchids,(Pyramidal) just coming into full flowering over the last two weeks. All self sown not planted by us!

All just as the RSPB suggests we can do!!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Advice from Blogger


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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Recording wildlife.

Updating my last post, I have started to use the SERC system and hopefully I have recorded a couple of "ordinary" sightings this week. Here is a link to the web site and the instructions you need to follow:http://www.somerc.com/submit-your-sightings/ You need to live in Somerset of course!!

Visiting a friends garden this week we were amazed to see a Blackbird somehow catch a Newt from the pond and fly off with it. Couldn't see more clearly than that and it all happened in a split second. It took its prey into some bushes and was obviously having difficulty dealing with it. We left it to it!

Will look more carfully at our own garden pond now where we know we have newts.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

How can I record wildlife I see in my village?

On Tuesday this week our local group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust organised a talk to explain to members how we can do this.
I was interested to listen to an excellent presentation of the on line recording system developed by Somerset Environmental Records Centre.( SERC) I followed up the same evening by entering my sighting of a Orange Tip butterfly in my own garden two days ago. I expect many people have seen them recently. After a couple of tries I have entered this sighting onto the Somerset Records. Not remarkable but as was apparent from questions a common reaction to being urged to report common sightings is  why report something which is thought off as not worth the effort.

For me the reason is the same as led us to start our own local village system which you can see in operation if you visit Curry Rivel Community Website. Use this link :http://www.curryrivel.org.uk  A map is shown with the Parish boundary marked  using Google Earth maps and on the map are symbols to represent the reports we have receive, their location and description of what was seen. We set that system up because of our interest in wildlife and because as on of small group of volunteers said," if we want to protect out wildlife then we first need to know what wildlife is currently resident in our area!"

What I learnt form our talk was that SERC have given us the means to pass on our sightings so that they can be " officially" recorded centrally for Somerset where they are available for planning departments , developers and local councils who are considering housing and other projects.

So its a lot more than just local curiosity and interest and I hope we will be able to use this tool and well as keeping our local initiative going in parallel.

SERC web site and the way to make our reports are clearly shown at this web address link:   http://www.somerc.com/who-are-serc/

To see the Facebook page for our local area group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust try this link:http:://www.somersetwildlife.org/Heart_of_the_Level

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Curry Rivel wildlife

I posted this short report on our Community Web Site and have already had several new sightings so happy with that.

The Wildlife Survey Group has set up a map of the village and we add a marker every time someone reports any form of wildlife. 
To view the map simply click here 

To report your sighting if you use a mobile phone or other computer device email to: davidgerman555@gmail.com or editor@curryrivel.org.uk or curryrivelnews@gmail.com
It will reach me, David German, eventually!
At the recent Annual Parish Assembly I was able to report that the Wildlife Survey Group is indeed still alive and well and collecting news of fresh wildlife sightings around Curry Rivel.
Most of the reported sightings so far have been added with an approximate location to the Village Wildlife Map on the website.
Reports for 2018 include the following:
5.3.18.I was contacted about an unusually large "creepy crawly"
I've copied how I asked SERC for identification!
Sent to SERC:
"Help please!
What is this? Sent to me this morning. Found on a slab sunbathing yesterday in a garden next to Batty Piece. Looks very pale and seems to have a pair of legs per segment. I've checked the length and was told it was about 10 cm.It seems to be a centipede but rather big? Mobile phone picture included.The person sending this didn't actually see it and will contact the originator for more info if possible.
Regards,
David"
Response from SERC:
"Thank-you for the creepy crawly photo, it is indeed a centipede. As to which is not so easy to say, there are 57 species of centipede in the UK!
Here is an interesting link
The Western yellow centipede (Stigmatogaster subterranea) seems plausible, up to 70mm, not so long as your specimen but possible. The Nature Spot website says there are several very similar species and they can only be identified conclusively with an id key and a microscope, not from a photo sadly! So, centipede sp. is as good as we can get.
Actually, some people keep non-native centipede species as pets so it could even be an escapee." 
8.4.18 Video clip of two stoats fighting in a local ditch. Very dramatic and serious with probably only one winner! Will try to show video complete with sound effects!


Tried but not working!



Other reports in April so far include ,Swallows,House Martins, early purple wild orchids, Bluebells, primroses and Cowslips in East Field and Batty Piece in large numbers.
By coincidence there will be a Wildlife Trust public meeting with a presentation of the recording work by Somerset Environmental Centre organised by the Heart of the Levels Volunteer Group 8th May in Somerton.
"It is the endless task of the Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC) to record the county's plant and wildlife. Why is this so
important, and what is this information used for? Come and find out how you can make a big contribution to counting our wildlife."

Friday, April 27, 2018

Neonicotinoid pesticides.


I thought this news should be spread around!



Dear David

Today is a momentous day for our bees.

In the last few minutes the European Union has voted to ban bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) on all crops grown outdoors. And Friends of the Earth supporters like you – and across Europe – played a massive part in making it happen.

In the past neonics were banned on a handful of crops. Now, if a crop is grown outdoors, neonics are totally off-limits. Our bees will be able to fly more freely through our countryside without the risk of these harmful chemicals.

Following huge pressure from thousands of you, UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove played his part and voted for the ban. So an extra well done if you signed our petition. Let’s celebrate and share this huge success for our bees.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Wild flowers and "Plantlife"


This is a good time to get out looking for wildflowers in our verges, hedges and nature reserves.


This is an extract from Plantlife's latest newsletter.




Dear supporter,
Happy Spring! Get ready to hunt for woodland flowers, learn more about how we are protecting ancient trees and help us speak up for wild flowers in Government. Read on...
Great British Wildflower Hunt 2018
The 2018 Great British Wildflower Hunt launches next week with a new list for those who enjoy a woodland walk. Help us discover where those bluebells and primroses are blooming! 




Here is a link to Plantlife's web site where you can find out much more about the important work done for wildflowers

:https://mailchi.mp/plantlife/plantlife-news-april-2018?e=3369987e57




Saturday, February 10, 2018

Wildlife photo from Chris Chappell, Heart of the Levels Group





Little Egret taken at Steart Marshes by Chris Chappell , committee member of the Heart of the Levels local group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust.
The wetlands are managed by the Wildfoul and Wetlands Trust
 ( https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/steart-marshes/)




Friday, February 09, 2018

Curry Rivel in Bloom: Compost Day at the War Memorial

Curry Rivel in Bloom: Compost Day at the War Memorial: Saturday 17th Feb - 10.30 onwards. Clearing the site and digging in compost is the main task, preparing for the permanent planting (to be ...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group report. Cranes on the Levels

I'll try to add the photo soon,



Curry Rivel News
A  West  Sedgemoor  Wonder
Photo attached
Timmy and Michaela with their two young hatched on West Sedgemoor in 2017.
Photo courtesy of John Crispin
This year, for the first time for in four centuries a very special event took place on the West Sedgemoor reserve–  five golden, fluffy chicks were hatched.  Three pairs of Eurasian (or Common) Cranes successfully reared four chicks to the point of fledging.  They, with their parents, are now with the general flock and can be seen at times within the bounds of Curry Rivel village.  The juvenile birds are almost as big as their parents now but they don’t quite look like them yet.  They have rusty coloured heads and necks unlike the adults who have black and white heads and necks with a bright red top to their heads.  The young stay with their parents for around a year until the breeding season starts and then they are chased away so that the adults can get on with their important breeding work.  Local schools and businesses were encouraged to champion the released birds so they all have pet names though they are properly identified by their leg rings.
The best place to observe a flock is from the Parrett Way between Oath and Stathe but they do move around quite a lot.  They can be seen in the air in their V shaped pattern and can be heard ‘bugling’ (a bit like yodelling).  The released birds still wear their coloured identity rings which are on their legs and this helps to record their progress.  Out on the Levels they are remarkably difficult to see considering they are now one of the largest wild birds in Britain.  Nature has ensured that they melt into the background whatever it is.  Also they love feeding in ditches and where the vegetation is tall.  However patience is rewarded by the sight of them peacefully feeding or preening.  It will be some years before the project is considered a success because Cranes are quite long lived (around 20 years) and take time to establish a sustainable flock.
The project to re-introduce cranes to the Somerset Levels, where they used to be very common until hunted out of existence, started in 2010.  After 5 years around 100 birds had been released after eggs from  Germany were hatched at WWT Slimbridge.   93 birds have survived and all are capable of breeding now.  So far these beautiful birds have produced 11 young  in locations as far away as Wiltshire and South Wales  but this year the successful rearing took place on West Sedgemoor – the event we were all waiting for!  This has confirmed the wisdom of releasing them on the Levels where hopefully they will stay for a long time to come.
If you would like further information you can visit the Crane website: 


Liz Antliff-Clark

RSPB Volunteer
and member of our CR Wildlife Survey Group.