Search This Blog

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!!

Video from Somerset Wildlife Trust

It is about time I showed this video made by the Somerset Wildlife Trust as part of their never ending efforts to protect our Somerset Wildlife

Please view this U Tube video.

There are other videos in which you can see more of the work of the Trust.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Wildlife action in Curry Rivel , Somerset

Article for Curry Rivel News April 2017 edition.    But you can see it here first!!

Each month in 2017 a free wildlife activity will be laid on to give Cury Rivel residents the opportunity to get to know what amazing wildlife is on their doorstep. In April the activity –in fact there are two – focuses on birds

Watch the birdy

What makes Curry Rivel a great place to live? Well, lots of things. Many people would say that it’s the scenery, the hedges, trees, views, greenery – and birds. It’s specially birds, along with the delicate new shoots on plant and the first flowerss, which herald the spring. As soon as Christmas is over, days start to lengthen and dunnocks, great tits and robins begin to sing, marking their territories with song to make sure they have enough food for when the young ones hatch later. As weeks go by, other birds join in the singing, and by March all the resident birds are at it.

Would you like to know what the birds you can hear singing are? Which ones are bringing your garden and our village alive? There are two opportunities in Curry Rivel in April, both free, led by local ecologist Catherine Mowat. If you like, you could try bringing a smart phone to record the songs and help you learn them. There’s no need to book, just turn up, but if you would like to know more, contact Catherine on 01458 250655.

Good Friday 14th April 7am-9am: Early morning walk along the lanes, stopping to watch and listen as we go. Meet at St Andrews parish Church

Friday 28th April 8.15pm-9.30pm: Owls and nightingales. Three species of owl are found in and around Curry Rivel, and amazingly, in recent years, a pair of nightingales – a species which has become incredibly rare. No promises, but we hope to hear or see some of these, and enjoy the evening bird chorus too. Meet at Eastfield.

We’re looking for people to join in with wildlife activities, do contact the wildlife survey group if you’re interested -

 I'll publish our draft programme for 2017 here soon.

Wild Life Crime

Roger Dickey | Chairman Heart of the Level Group | 441458 273753 | 447973534282 |

Dear SWT Heart of the Levels supporter.
Our next talk is this coming Tuesday 14th March. Once again we gone for something a little different.
The subject that is very often overlooked, as crime statistics are mentioned, is wildlife crime – we all have our own views on what this means but it is a topic rarely reported in the Press unless it involves certain protected species, and even then hardly credits a mention. What actually is a wildlife crime, how much crime is there and is there anything we can do to help prevent it or indeed report it?
We are very fortunate to have Dave Pepper coming to speak to us on Tuesday, not only because he is a local police officer, but also because there are only a few Wildlife Crimes Officers in the county making him a bit of a rare breed.
I do hope to see you in the Parish Rooms at 7:30 pm for this talk with a difference.