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NEWSLETTER – July 2014

North Somerset and Bristol Group Work Party at Shapwick Summer 2014

North Somerset and Bristol Group Work Party at Shapwick Summer 2014

Yet again we were lucky with the weather for our walk through the reserves belonging to Backwell Environment Trust. The reserves were looking lovely and the sharp eyed amongst the group spotted a corncockle flower, a first for the reserve, and a Spotted Flycatcher and its nest in the top of a broken off tree. The nest had chicks and the parents were visiting to feed.

We did not have time to take in the archeological sites on the reserve, but if you are interested there is a walk on Sunday, 13 July, starting at 10.00am. The earliest feature is a Burial Cave, going back 5,000 years, with Neolithic to Roman remains. From the 17/18 centuries there are many ‘humps and bumps’ from exploitation of lead and iron deposits and, from the 19th century, the foundations of a Warrener’s Cottage and a restored limekiln.

For further info please call Jenny Greenslade on 01275 462849 or visit www.backwellenvironmenttrust.org

This month the walk will be on Monday, 28 July at 7.30pm, meeting at The Swan car park at Rowberrow. Chris Sperring will lead us on a Mendip Ramble around that area, possibly finding some nightjars. Summer walks are essentially for members but guests are welcome for a modest fee of £2.50.

The Magnificent hide at our Reserve at Shapwick Moor

The Magnificent hide at our Reserve at Shapwick Moor

News from Shapwick Reserve:
June’s work day on the reserve was hot, hot, hot! The outside of The Badger Hide has now been coated, some of the surrounding area cleared of some of the lush growths and a log pile created The hedge along the drove is looking very healthy and has some beautiful dog roses in it. The new hedge planting around the car park has also been weeded. Visitors to the hides are increasing, as are the positive comments, which is very encouraging for the volunteers. The feeders are attracting plenty of the smaller birds.

The next work day is 26 July. For more details or to be put on the volunteer mailing list, please contact Barry on baz.gray@btinternet.com

Other dates and items which may be of interest:

The Avalon Marshes Festival:
This runs from Saturday 12 July to Saturday 26 July.

Following a very successful first year in 2013, the Avalon Marshes Festival is a celebration of the rich diversity of wildlife and the 10,000 years of cultural heritage of the Avalon Marshes. The festival kicks off with the Avalon Marshes Day on Saturday 12 July, a day of activities, tours, talks, exhibitions and more based at the Red Brick Building in Glastonbury. Chris Sperring (MBE, BBC Radio presenter, and Hawk & Owl Trust Conservation Officer) will lead walks throughout the day.

Also in attendance will be Natural England, RSPB, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Somerset County Council’s Heritage Service, Secret World Wildlife Rescue, Friends of St Bride’s Mound, Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust, local heritage groups and more. There is a full programme of various activities, walks and talks throughout the two weeks including ‘ When Beavers Roamed the Somerset Levels Marshes – Animals of the Past’ with Chris Sperring and Dr Richard Brunning at Cossington on 21 July. Further details on www.avalonmarshes.org/AMF_2014.

Barn Owls – The benign weather of May and June has been very favourable for Barn Owls and reports so far seem to suggest that it has been a good year for them. In many cases they have nested early and there is every chance that many will have a second brood. Things don’t appear to have been quite so good for Peregrines though, with many regular sites not being used this year and those that have been have had only one, or maybe two, chicks. The notable exception is Portishead where four chicks were ringed.

Kestrel project – Results this year have been very encouraging, with 7 of our 31 boxes being used. We know that at least 23 young hatched. Seventeen of the young were ringed from five of the boxes.
Ashton Court , June 2014 Congresbury, June 2014

Barry is always interested in kestrel sightings, and hearing from volunteers willing to help carry his ladder! – baz.gray@btinternet.com

Petition to ban driven grouse shoots – Many will be aware of the conflict between grouse shooting and raptors, especially the perilous situation with Hen Harriers. Dr Mark Avery has started a petition to require the next government to ban driven grouse shooting in England. The petition is open until May 2015. For further information search Mark Avery’s blogs on the topic, and if you wish to sign the petition the address is http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65627.
We look forward to seeing you for our Mendip walk on 28 July.

With best wishes
Carrie Riches
Chairman
Hawk and Owl Trust
North Somerset and Bristol Group

Shapwick Moor Work Day 23 Feb – Help ‘build’ our youngest reserve!

Come along at 10am on 23 February and help us finish work on our first ever Observation Hide, ready for its official opening on March 8. This has been our busiest winter ever with lots of ditch work completed, together with new ponds and scrapes, new paths, lots of hedging and the erecting lots ofContinue Reading

Next workday at Shapwick Moor

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be shown, by Simon Beard, our Education Officer, just how much progress been made on the reserve in the last few weeks. Recent works include two scrapes and a pond in front of our main hide and the hole for a small pond near the hide. We now haveContinue Reading

Shapwick Reserve Coming on Leaps and Bounds – Despite the Weather!

In the face of an atrocious weather forecast the work day on our reserve on the Somerset Levels, Shapwick Moor, on 5 January 2014 was postponed until Sunday 25 January 2014. However, in spite of the wet conditions there have still been lots of developments. Simon Beard, our Education and Outreach Officer (Reserve Development managerContinue Reading

Woodland Trust donate 450 young trees to Somerset Levels Nature reserve

The Hawk and Owl Trust are delighted to announce that our conservation colleagues The Woodland Trust, have very kindly donated 450 young trees to start off the extensive programme of habitat management that we have planned for the newest of our reserves – Shapwick Moor. A work party day has been planned for Sunday 10thContinue Reading

South Gloucester Group Attends International Centre for Birds of Prey Event

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North Somerset and Bristol Group spread the word at the North Somerset Countryside Day

The North Somerset and Bristol Group attended the North Somerset Countryside Day on 10th July, organised by the North Somerset Agricultural Society. Approximately 2,300 enthusiastic and excited school children attended this event which is aimed at raising awareness of what goes on in the countryside, and more particularly, how their food is produced.  Each groupContinue Reading

Volunteers Show Off ‘Wildlife on your Doorstep’ in North Somerset

Enthusiastic volunteers in North Somerset laid on a hugely successful event in February entitled ‘Wildlife on your Doorstep’. Aimed at spreading the Trust’s conservation message the day involved guided woodland walks, nest box building, owl pellet dissection and displays, along with two captive-bred owls; Ozzy the Boobook Owl and Otus the Long-eared Owl. Trust ConservationContinue Reading

Mushrooms Magic For Owls

Barn Owl Box at Monaghan Mushrooms As part of a Conservation Plan conducted to assess the environmental impact of the farm on the local area Sarah Chisholm, Quality Manager, of Monaghan Mushrooms at Whitley near Selby contacted Fylingdales Wildlife Ranger Chris Hansell with a view to obtaining a Barn Owl box and getting help onContinue Reading

Two Chicks for Bath Peregrines

7th Successive Brood at Church Nest Platform Conservationists in Bath have welcomed the next generation of peregrines to hatch on the Hawk and Owl Trust’s well established nesting platform on the spire of St John’s RC Church. The first egg successfully hatched on 1 May 2011 when one chick was observed as the female leftContinue Reading