It has been a busy year for the Hawk and Owl Trust’s Fylingdales reserve with very successful plant and wildlife surveys and brilliantly positive feedback from our education and outreach programme.
For those who don’t know, Fylingdales Moor consists of 7000 acres of what used to be Victorian grouse shooting estate (ceasing back in 1990) in the heart of the North York Moors National Park. Since 2009 the Hawk and Owl Trust have taken management of the land to run it as a conservation moor. Three hardy staff and an amazing team of volunteers work tirelessly to continue developing the moor for wildlife and for the Hawk and Owl Trusts education and outreach programme.
Chris Hansell, our wildlife ranger and David Hutton (moorland keeper) have worked hard on many projects to restore footpaths in the area including the highly popular and well used Coast to Coast path that runs from St Bees Head to Robin Hoods Bay. Many bridges and erosion control points have been repaired and erected to protect the landscape and reduce runoff, thus preventing flooding further down the valleys. Work has been continuing on the Jugger Howe walkway through the beautiful Jugger Beck valley, allowing better access to the area. A new viewing hide has been erected, part funded by the Hawk and Owl Trust to look over the moor, which wouldn’t have been possible without volunteer help. There continue to be threats and opportunities to the moor, with the potential of fracking in the area and planning permission being granted for a new potash mine to open adjacent to the moor. The amount of road traffic from the site may increase on the roads over the moor, but once the site is fully up and running this disturbance should be minimal. A positive to come out of this situation is that the Hawk and Owl Trust may be able to work alongside the local charity which the potash mining company has set up.
Wildlife surveys for 2015 have found the return of otter and water vole to the becks. In addition to the main aim to attract Hen Harriers, for which the moors see a good number of passage birds, the house sparrow and honey buzzard have been new additions to the Fylingdales Moor Bird Survey. This along with sightings of golden plover, curlews, snipe and yellow browed warblers, brings a total of 122 recorded bird species so far. Skylark, meadow pipit and goldfinch have also had a very good year and across the moor 266 plant species were recorded. The only exception to the positivity of the wildlife survey is the decline of the Merlin, with no breeding records across the moor and a decrease in other parts of the North York Moors as well.
The education and outreach programme, run by education officer Tanya Eyre, continues to grow with new courses being added including soil analysis, river ecology and using a map and compass. On top of this Tanya is also collaborating with the National Park and National Trust to lead a number of health walks, owl prowls and ringing demonstrations, all designed to increased the popularity of the area and potential income.
Regular updates provided by wildlife ranger Chris Hansell are posted on the Hawk and Owl Trust Facebook page, to view them please just Click Here