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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

National Meadow Day , Curry Rivel

National Meadows Day - Saturday 1st July.

Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group

To mark this day we invite you to visit our own local meadows located in Holdens Way for a guided walk.

Eastfield Community Meadow and Batty Piece, a private nature reserve and wild flower meadow.

Car parking by Westfield Recreation Field.
Contact us for details of guided walks between 2pm and 5pm.
Please contact me for alternative arrangements

Contact David German 01458 259688 or email at

        Pyramidal Orchid                                            Marbled white butterfly                       Grass vetchling and   Goat’s-beard

"Meadows, once a feature of every parish in Somerset are now an increasingly fragile part of our national heritage but all is not lost. National Meadows Day is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the flowers and wildlife of Somerset's magnificent meadows and understand their special place in our shared social and cultural history.
 "Beyond being a quintessential sight of summer, meadows' value to our wildlife cannot be overstated — a single healthy meadow can be home to over 80 species of wild flowers, such as cuckoo flower, yellow rattle, orchids, knapweed and scabious, compared to most modern agricultural pasture which typically supports under a dozen species."

Claire Parton, ‘Save Our Magnificent Meadows’   Project Manager for Somerset Wildlife Trust

Monday, June 12, 2017

PCNR Pond Workshop event.

phttp://www.somerset reptiles and amphibian group

Yesterday I attended a pond workshop organised by PCNRN for its members. We met  in East Lydford. Our hosts had  constructed their very large pond , almost a lake by most standards, in 2005 and  it had now matured into a nature reserve. After a talk about its construction and their experience with vegetation issues we had a go at pond dipping with good results finding Dragon Fly nymphs and many other interesting residents in the pond. We were fortunate to have with us John Dickenson from the Somerset Reptile and Amphibian Group to identify our catches.( see link above). Around 15 members all seemed motivated to do more with their own ponds. Some were in the course of construction. Problems and questions were aired and experience was shared. Very useful.
More information about PCNR Network can be found on the SWT website as shown above.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Walk round a special meadow.

Babcary Meadows WildWalk

Thursday 22 June 18:3

Join us for the launch of our new WildWalk around Babcary Meadows Nature Reserve! With an introduction to the meadows by Reserve Manager, Mark Green, and apple juice kindly provided by Orchard Pig.
Please note:  there is limited parking available at the Red Lion Inn. Please wear sensible clothing and footwear. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Dogs welcome but must be kept on a lead.
This event is Kindly supported by Orchard Pig, The Heart of the Levels Area Group of volunteers and The Red Lion Inn
The Red Lion Inn, Babcary, Somerton TA11 7ED
Contact/Booking Information, for more information please contact
Free event but donations welcome

Information about the meadows.

50 years of local conservation:
Supported by its members Somerset Wildlife Trust has been protecting vulnerable wildlife and preserving wild places for 50 years. Throughout 2014, the Trust  celebrated its golden anniversary year by encouraging local people to ‘Love Somerset, Love nature’. Babcary is just one of 72 nature reserves under the Trust’s stewardship, which helps ensure Somerset remains one of the most wildlife-rich places in the UK.
Please donate to Somerset Wildlife Trust’s meadow appeal:
Make a donation and help the Trust keep meadows like Babcary Meadows special for people and wildlife.
As you cross the River Cary, which flows gently along the southern edge of the reserve, Babcary’s secrets begin to be revealed.
It’s like stepping into history, back to a time before the Second World War when meadows like this were a common sight in our countryside.
The fields are botanically-rich; June brings bee orchids, yellow rattle and common spotted orchids, whilst water voles inhabit the riverbank and the songs of skylarks and other birds add to the atmosphere of this rural idyll.
Somerset Wildlife Trust Reserves Manager Mark Green said: ‘I love Babcary Meadows – it’s such a tranquil place and there’s always something different to see, every time I visit.‘From late May, the salad burnet gives a lovely red hue to the landscape then, in June and July, there are hundreds of butterfies, such as meadow browns and marbled whites fluttering around.’

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Holiday photo/ Sulphurous Jewel beetle

Found this beetle which you can see on this link. In AbuDhabi!  Will try to add my photo!

Here it is!
It is surprising that you would think the UAE is mainly sand and yet it has some amazing insects and butterflies. They have a really impressive botanical park in the centre of the City.  I must research it some more.

Wildlife issues to be put to general election candidates/

I am pleased to see the Wildlife Trusts publishing their concerns and their advice to us as members to allow us to raise these important issues with our candidates before we vote.

An extract from an email from the Somerset Wildlife Trust to its members

I’m sure you also know how unique, beautiful and precious our natural heritage is in Somerset. We have wonderful moors, a stunning coastline, rolling farmland, picturesque towns and villages with the added jewels of the unique wetlands in the Levels and Moors, Exmoor National Park and four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We are passionate to secure a positive deal for the UK’s wildlife in the upcoming election, during the BREXIT negotiations and following our departure from the European Union.
The rewards for making the right decisions would also be great: a UK which is a world-leader on the environment with clean air, clear water, a stable climate, healthy seas, beautiful landscapes and thriving wildlife in the places we care about most. All this is fundamental to the well-being and prosperity of our own and future generations.
We know that there is huge popular support for wildlife and the environment from people of all backgrounds. In a recent YouGov poll, 80% of people said they think the UK should have the same or stronger environmental protection after it leaves the EU.

The Wildlife Trusts would therefore like to see all parties commit to:
  1. Nature's recovery in a generation. To achieve this will require us to transfer all current EU environmental laws into statute in the UK and ensure they are policed, and in England, to enact an Environment Act that restores the ecology of our rivers, farmland, soils and cities.
  2. Protection of our marine wildlife through a well enforced and complete network of marine protected areas in UK seas and sustainable fisheries policies.
  3. New sustainable policies for our farmland to allow wildlife to thrive alongside food production. Taxpayer’s money should be invested in creating abundant wildlife, healthy soils, clean water, climate change mitigation and beautiful landscapes for the benefit of everyone.

Take action!

You can help give wildlife a safer future. Candidates will be talking to you on your doorsteps and in your streets.
You can let them know how much wildlife matters to you, and ask them what they plan to do to help it thrive. We’ve set out a few simple questions you can ask yourself and share with family and friends who share your commitment to the natural world?
  1. What will your party do to ensure we our wildlife laws remain strong and that steps are taken to restore the damage we have done to nature?
    If you've got a bit longer, why not ask: Specifically for England, will you commit to an ambitious new Environment Act?
  2. What will your party do to ensure that wildlife thrives in our seas once more?
    If you want more detail, ask them: Will you make sure that more marine protected areas are designated and policed?
  3. What will you party do to ensure we have new farming policies in each part of the UK to provide for nature’s recovery?
    More specifically: Will you make sure that any payments to farmers are for positive environmental action?

SWT Reserves LLs and Constituency boundaries sw simplified

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Batty Piece, wild Orchids. Pyramidal and Green Winged, and Broomrape

Having recently discovered a Green Winged Orchid flowering in our meadow, on a walk about today I found our Pyramidal orchids just beginning to show a slightly pink tip of the flower spike. Last year we had hundreds on display.The single Green Winged orchid is now on its last flower and hopefully will produce a lot of seeds. It was fortunate that we found it as the grasses and other flowering plants make it difficult to see.  I also spotted a lovely pale pink and almost colourless Broomrape plant . Again hard to spot.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Message from the Somerset Wildlife Trust,. Simon Nash CEO

I'm a member of the Somerset Wildlife Trust and I know how hard their job is to look after wildlife life in our lovely county and how difficult it is to to raise the funds to do the job as we would like it done. This letter has been sent to me as a member and I am happy to share it with you.

Dear Supporter

You know how unique, beautiful and precious our natural heritage is in Somerset. We have wonderful moors, a stunning coastline, rolling farmland, picturesque towns and villages with the added jewels of the unique wetlands in the Levels and Moors, Exmoor National Park and four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

And you will also know that we have an upcoming General Election on Thursday 8th June.  I’m passionate about securing a positive deal for the UK’s wildlife during the BREXIT negotiations and following our departure from the European Union. And in a recent YouGov poll, 80% people said they wanted stronger laws to protect our wildlife – so we know you care too.

This election is particularly crucial to Somerset’s wildlife because, as you are keenly aware, decisions made during the process of leaving the EU could have substantial impacts on the strong protections Somerset currently enjoys.  Agriculture and fisheries policies – currently developed at EU level – have also for many years provided a source of funding for farming that protects wildlife.

This election brings us an enormous opportunity to craft new domestic policies that could lead to a thriving countryside where farming and conservation work seamlessly together, and ensure that we continue to have an environment that is brilliant for wildlife and people.

Somerset Wildlife Trust wrote to all the candidates in Somerset asking what they will do for nature if elected on 8th June and in particular we asked for.
  • A ‘blue belt’ of marine protected areas in UK seas including our Somerset coast.  
  • Action to ensure we are the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.
  • New farming policies, where taxpayer’s money is invested in ways to deliver multiple benefits, including nature, healthy soils, clean water, climate change, natural flood management, and beautiful landscapes. 

Whether you attend a hustings, meet your candidates on the doorstep or contact them by letter, email or social media post, I would urge you to do the same, keeping in mind all that is special in Somerset.

This is fundamental to the well-being and prosperity of our own and future generations.

Please join us in holding our politicians to account.

Remember, Nature can’t vote but you can vote for nature.

Simon Nash, Chief Executive, Somerset Wildlife Trust

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group weekly reports April / May

Emails between members of Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group.  ( edited)

I will walk Eastfield each week and report what my untrained eye observes. We're away some of the time in the next few weeks but I shall do my best.
I'm on Nightingale listening!

Thanks David and Liz for joining us yesterday.
You can double your bird count, David! I have attached a spreadsheet showing what we saw, when. Catherine, her niece, and I continued on up to the fields above us this morning, and on into the woods on the scarp. We saw some different species, as you might expect. In total, 33 species over the two days.
I will log that on the wildlife map.

It looks like the swallows are properly back now; I saw a group of them on the telephone wires on Dyers Road by the Church Lane junction, where they usually hang out in the summer.
The orchids are on the top part of the road,  about half way along, on the southern side (nearest the village). Yes, spotty leaves, and there are a dozen or more of them. You have to look carefully amongst all the bluebells there. Lots of yellowhammers along that lane too, as usual. And two or three skylark territories. 

On 14/04/2017 15:15, David German wrote:
First one reported ! No spotted leaves though? Was it a single specimen?  Thats the lane up from Dyers Lane?
Our first 2017 CR WSG early morning bird spotting walk went well this morning  Waiting for Matts record of the number heard and seen for most. Expect it was about 15 or so!
Will record the orchid. Wish we had it on Batty Piece or Eastfield.  Maybe too dry for us.
On 14 Apr 2017, at 13:31, Paul wrote:

My first Orchid 
On the lane to Woods


Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Butterfly collector of almost extinct butterflies is convicted.

As a member of Butterfly Conservation I would like to share this report from their web site.
One of the sites mentioned is in the area covered by Heart of the Levels Area Group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust and is one of our favourite local sites.

Try this link:

Sunday, April 09, 2017

CR WSG weekly report on Eastfield 2/17

The second survey report

CRWSG Eastfield Survey Report 2/17
Time 1700 hrs    6.4.17  Fine sunny day breezy.

Walking down Holdens Way to Eastfield its worth noticing that the  vegetation on the verge is growing strongly. Cow Parsley is flowering and Hogweed is showing quite spectacular growth and flowering is not far away. The old hedge, perhaps ancient, has recovered from a rather rough cut back and layering some time ago and is  now regrowing.  From the gate you can see a noticeable difference in the look of the meadow.  Cowslips have sprung up clear of the grasses and many more have appeared in all areas. The well  established clump of flowers near the Electricity pole half way along the southern side catch your eye,  bright and cheerful. This clump is always protected from any mowing or other activity by the pole and its supports. Buttercups are not as showy as the cowslips but have also risen clear of the grasses and are evenly distributed  across the meadow. Walking round the mown path these changes can be seen in more detail. Vetches are noticeable now and should be flowering soon. Even in the mown path cowslips have grown up and are flowering. I haven’t mentioned the Dandelions so far but of course they are everywhere fully open in the sunshine and looking like miniature sunflowers.
A pleasant change this time is to see a Peacock and a Speckled Wood butterfly,  flying back and forth in front of the Blackthorn hedge. Here there is a particularly  numerous display of Cowslips.  There will be many other species of butterflies to look out for in the weeks ahead.