Search This Blog

Friday, August 11, 2017

Glow worms search

Just posted a comment on Curry Rivel facebook page to report on our Glow Worm search. Better than I dared hope!

Curry Rivel David GermanWe were searching for an hour and a half and it was getting dark and bingo we found our first female glowworm, eventually we had seen a dozen and after two hours we finished happy at our successful walk. We also listened to bats out hunting through out our walk. A real nature ramble and a great success! With Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Glow worm search

The Heart of the Levels Group had a successful search a few weeks ago and found 15 insects  near Somerton. This walk hopes to find the insects in Curry Rivel parish.

Curry Rivel News August 2017
Gleeful Glow worms in Curry Rivel Catherine Mowat
Family event Were looking for glow worms around Curry Rivel on Friday 11th August. Come and help us find them! Meet outside West Field play park at 8pm. Bring torches and stout footwear; children must be accompanied. We will split into groups, some walking a short distance on easy terrain, some further – up to 2 miles – who will explore steep uneven terrain. This will be in the dark, and people can choose their group.
As we travel in our cars at night with their glowing headlights, we fail to notce the little magical glow worm, shining about as bright as a hi-fi LED indicator. Yet we are fortunate to have these unusual beetles in our parish. The adult female has glowing segments on her tail; she sits in open grassland and holds up her tail after dusk to atract a mate. She cant fly, and repeats this for several nights until a male – who can fly – flies in and mates with her. She then turns out her light, lays her eggs and dies. She is called a glow worm because she looks a bit life a caterpillar, with segments and no wings. The eggs hatch into larvae which spend two summers or so, feeding on snails which they paralyse before sucking them empty.
If you find a glow worm, admire it but do not disturb it and, most importantly, leave it where it is. There are very few about indeed, we need to let them get on with their life. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Dragonflies . Comment on my last post.

Pleased to get a prompt response from my friend Chris Chappell: 
"Nice to hear of your success with the dragonflies, Pauline has a similar sized pond and many have emerged, at one point the lily pads were covered in damselfly exuvia."
Chris takes much better photos than we do! However I was pleased we captured the significant few minutes shown I'm my last post taken with a hand held iPhone
Don't forget if you click on the picture it should expand its size.

An excellent photo of a Common darter (Sympetrum striolatum )


Male common darter Ham Wall yesterday. Chris Chappell

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Dragonflies., from our very own garden pond!

Possibly a Southern hawker ( Aeshna cycnea )
 Just emerged from lava case
 Ready to fly

Some of the more than 30 lava cases recovered this summer from the pond just 2.5m by 1.5m

Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group report.
Good year for DRAGONFLIES

We all know and admire the beauty of dragonflies and those of us with garden ponds will have the pleasure of seeing damselflies hovering over the water on sunny days.  This charming species is very ancient, around 300 million years old as fossilised remains have proved.  So, a very successful insect perhaps because in contrast to their beauty they are aggressive, carnivorous predators during their short summer lives.

Dragonflies are recognisable to most of us in two groups - dragonflies and damselflies.  Dragonflies are the larger and stouter and damselflies are smaller and daintier.  When trying to identify them there is one very obvious difference.  When at rest dragonflies keep their wings spread open but damselflies keep them folded together along their backs.  Otherwise they have the same characteristics and only differ in where they hunt and where they tend to lay their eggs. 

 All of them need to be near water but certain dragonflies (known as darters or hawkers) will hunt along hedgerows or at woodland edges.  To catch their prey dragonflies are known to fly as fast as 60 mph!

Eggs are laid in water, mud or in waterside plants.  These eggs hatch into larvae which sometimes remain in their watery birthplaces for several years feeding on all sorts of underwater prey including small fish and frog spawn.  When weather and temperature conditions are just right they emerge, climbing up the stalks of water plants and start to change into their adult form.  Once able to fly they immediate look for mates and start the whole process again but within 2-3 weeks they have completed their work and die.

Dragonflies are usually seen on sunny, warm days when there is plenty of food about but in poor weather they will stay hidden sometimes hanging underneath leaves (perhaps sheltering from our frequent rainfall!).  As with all animal life poor conditions and lack of food sources will affect the survival of dragonflies and indeed there are some that are now giving cause for concern. In fact dragonflies are an indicator species because of their reliance on healthy water courses.  If dragonflies disappear from a watery habitat then there is something wrong with its ecology.
Water pollution is a serious threat which has reduced where control is possible but is still a danger where thoughtless waste disposal continues.

There are some 30 species of dragonfly and 20 species of damselfly in Britain but identification is not easy because they are only visible for a short time and they can fly very fast.  Nowadays with camera phones perhaps it is possible to take a photo for later identification.  There are a few websites devoted to dragonflies e.g.  where you can find more information.  Identification is not necessary for most of us to enjoy the sight of a dragonfly with its fragile shimmering wings and striking body colours.  If you find them in your garden you know that you have created a healthy habitat and many other invaluable insects will want to join them.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My friend Ed Pratt-- unicycling round the world!!!???

I would like to introduce you to a young man, just turned 21, whose family live in my village of Curry Rivel in Somerset. Most people thought he was mad to try to achieve this circumnavigation round the world , on his own apart from people he meets but he is well over half way and after many adventures is currently cycling across Australia. You can see his progress on a map at this web address
Were is Ed   :    


Ed was also a junior member of our running club --  Langport Runners

Apart from having a great time he is raising money for a small charity which sends school bags to children in serious need of education mainly in Africa.

They are well worth supporting and you can find more information on Ed"s videos and web site.

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.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey.

I recently sent out this note to members of the Curry Rivel Wildlife Survey Group

Dear all,
From time to time I do a walk around check on Batty Piece to monitor wildlife in general. I’ve just done the same for Eastfield. The result was encouraging. I take a note pad with me and  briefly note what I see.  As its Britain in Bloom this year I hope to do the same once a week from now on. Yesterday in the sun, obviously everything is growing and looking good. 
The newly mown path round the field and across the middle gives a good view of all sectors of the field. Prominent are the Cowslips growing and just flowering in all areas but more densely evident in large patches at both ends.The Blackthorn hedge is looking splendid at the East end with the whole width of the field aglow with the white blossom. A good crop of sloes should follow.Along the south side the new hedge with its severn native species is also showing plenty of fresh growth and will display a range of flowers and fruit as we go into the summer.. The hedge was trimmed back earlier this year with a number of species left to grow on as hedge trees. Bird life should benefit.
Buttercups are  flowering in all areas of the meadow.
My rough notes will be retained dated and time of walk noted which will give us a comparison from year to year. Photographs will be an importanf supporting element of the. record
If anyone would like to join me we can find a suitable time and two pairs of eyes and ears will be useful.
Hoping to hear our Nightingale soon!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Glow worms! Short item on the BBC One Show a few days ago on the 28th I think. This link should take you to the programme and the item comes up at about 23 minutes into the programme. Hope it works.
Our local Wild Life Survey Group has a walk planned for August to look for them!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Otters in Somerset

To add to my last post I am trying to give you a link to the Group page on the Wildlife Trust web site. Click here:

Monday, March 27, 2017

Otters in Somerset

Here are details for our next public talk.

Dr Rob Williams presents an illustrated talk on Otters, focusing on the Giant Otters of the Peruvian Amazon and the European Otter that lives in Somerset.
Documenting the ecology, relationship with man, how this is related to their historical and current population status and future conservation

Tuesday 11th April  at 7.30pm
The Parish Rooms, Market Square, Somerton,
Somerset TA11 7NB
Refreshments available. Suitable for wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. Members £2.50  Non Members £3.00.

PS Apologies for format changes and loss of photos of Otters in copying this poster!!