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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bats in Somerset

Number four in the posts most frequently visited on this Blog is one I published way back on Sept 12th 2006 and it still attracts a steady number of visits. Its titled " Do Bats fly in the middle of the day?"
There have been 542 visits to the posting!

To follow up on my earlier post I think the answer to my question is that they may do when they are hungry or disturbed of course!

The Somerset Bat Group web site gives more information about their current programme  including their AGM to be held at the RSPCA Centre at West Hatch on April 27th. Incidental one of our local wildlife group works there as a volunteer and was recently helping in the cleaning of sea birds after the recent sea contamination and getting rather pecked by the unhappy  birds.

Here is a link to their web site:

I'm sure they would be pleased to hear from you.

The web site shows a series of photos of bats taken by Paul Kennedy. The Group claims that 15 of the 16 UK native bats have been identified in Somerset and hopes one day to find the 16th.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Langport house building verses conservation of Somerset meadow.

All these wild flowers and grasses I photographed last June in a similar unimproved grassland location some two miles from a meadow under threat from house building. Read about it below.

 Bee Orchid
 Emerging Pyramidal Orchid's
 Geass Vetchling against a Goats-beard
 Bee Orchid
 Quaking -grass

Under the title “ Battle Brewing” in the 15th March edition, the Langport Leveller reports on the way in which local residents have explained their opposition to a planning application to build 36 houses on “unimproved meadowland that has recently been used for grazing. With the extended flooding on the levels and moors in the last 12 months such grazing land is urgently required by Somerset farmers.
The site itself is described as good quality agricultural land and is a habitat frequented by roe deer,badgers,foxes, barn owls, bats and grass snakes. Other recent and close by housing developments have demonstrably caused, for example , the disappearance of moths and the range of wild plant species they feed off. For many species it has been claimed that the field is their sole local home.An official Peripherals Study prepared for the South Somerset District Council in 2008 identified the land as having the “ highest landscape sensitivity “ and “highest visual impact” when compered to other parcels of land in the study.
There are many other points of objection raised during two local Council meetings. A respected local naturalist John Bebbington asked the Council to take into account the beautiful and rare wild Orchids and butterflies found there including the Brown Hairstreak butterfly.
It any other support was needed to prevent a change in the usage of this agricultural land then the Royal horticultural Society is holding its London Orchid and Botanical Art Show on 12-13 April.
Many people these days grow cultivated orchids in their homes but here in Somerset we have our own beautiful wild plants which we should do everything we can to conserve. Plant lovers can admire in detail some of the worlds best botanic art in London this month. 

Look at :

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Wildlife Gardens and the RHS

One of the best ideas to spread interest in wildlife is this cooperation between the Royal Horticultural Society and the Wildlife Trust called "Wild about Gardens".

Wild About Gardens Newsletter March 2013

Now is a good time to do some of those things that will improve the structure or backbone of the garden, like planting trees or making a pond. Both of these will also benefit wildlife hugely, and there are several advantages to getting this work done now.

Use this link to visit the web site:

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Somerset Wildlife Trust reserves news

News of a botanical survey in 2012  at this Somerset Wildlife Trust reserve
Langford Heathfield Nature Reserve
There is much to explore at Langford Heathfield, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s second largest nature reserve, at 226 acres. It is the reserve’s varied landscape, which includes ancient woodland, heathland and ponds, that makes it a Mecca for such a variety of wildlife. For a sheet giving directions for a walk of one or two hours, click here.

An article by David Northcote-Wright in this issue of the Arion, the magazine of Butterfly Conservation, has interesting things to say about Langford Heathfield.

Look here to see a lovely website showing the results of a survey carried out throughout 2012 which resulted in 4,000 records of about 40 interesting plants, with maps showing their distribution within 10 metre squares

For more information:          Go to:

Photo: Christine Loudon

Friday, March 01, 2013

Badger Cull and Dorset Wildlife Trust

Dorset Wildlife Trust will be affected by the Badger Cull. This is a news item on their web site and on Twitter. Dorset and Somerset share a County boundary.

Dorset Wildlife Trust condemns badger cull 27th Feb 2013 Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) condemns a potential badger cull in the county, announced by Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson MP, as a reserve pilot cull area in case of problems with either of the proposed cull areas in Gloucestershire and Somerset.  DWT is keen to find an effective, long term solution to the problem of Bovine TB (bTB), but urges the Government to put more effort into an effective vaccine instead of a cull. 
Simon Cripps, Chief Executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust, said:
We have a great deal of sympathy for farmers who lose stock as a result of bTB and are acutely aware of the problems this disease causes in Dorset.However a badger cull is not the answer and is likely to make the  problem worse by spreading the disease onto farms previously unaffected.”
Dorset Wildlife Trust believes bTB should be tackled on multiple fronts, including vaccines for badgers and cattle and use of all possible biosecurity measures to prevent transmission between cattle.
The proposed cull area for Dorset is kept a secret.  DWT will not allow badger culling on its nature reserves and is currently preparing plans to vaccinate badgers, using an injectable vaccine as trialled by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
Dorset Wildlife Trust calls on the Government to develop the bTB vaccine for cattle and ensure its acceptance by the European Union. 
For more information about plans to vaccinate badgers in Dorset, click here.

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