Monthly Archives: April 2013

Bird photography from Cliftongrovebirds.co.uk

Today I’m featuring Rob Hoare’s excellent birding blog Cliftongrovebirds.co.uk,  which is highly recommended.  Recent sightings featured on the blog include a single Greenshank, seen at Cottages Flash near Barton-in-Fabis, just across the Trent from Attenborough Nature Reserve.  This bird will be stopping off in our area on its way north to breeding grounds in Scotland.

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Another recent sighting is the seldom seen Red-Rumped Swallow – a denizen of southern Europe and scarce visitor to Britain, typically with just 10 sightings per year across the whole country.  Rob managed to photograph this one before it flew out of sight….

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Thanks to Rob for use of his photos.  Keep checking his blog for the latest sightings!

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Wild Food Foraging at City Farm

There will be a wild food foraging session at Stonebridge City Farm once a month for the next four months.  The first one is on Wednesday:

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These sessions are highly recommended as a way of brushing up on your wild plant identification knowledge, and discovering interesting ways to use them; foraging is a *really* good activity for increasing your contact with nature, and entirely sustainable if sensible guidelines (such as these) are followed.

Keep an eye on Field Kitchen’s website for other upcoming foraging events in Nottingham, which currently include:

Saturday 18th May, 10-4pm: The Field Kitchen will be at the West Bridgford Summer Gathering, offering tasters of locally foraged teas and plants.

Saturday 25th May, 12-4pm: Fermentation workshop with Rebecca Beinart at Stonebridge City Farm: Try your hand at making Sourdough bread, Sauerkraut and Ginger beer.

Sunday 2nd June, 2-5pm: Field Kitchen bicycle-based foraging trip along the River Trent, where you will learn to identify wild food plants and cook up a foraged feast. Costs: £10 per person.

Dead wood habitat in Bramcote Hills Park

In Bramcote Hills Park, a 200-year old Beech Tree has fallen, and been allowed to stay in place.  An enclosure has been created within which the large tree can slowly decompose naturally; the enclosure also forms an area of habitat for wildflowers.

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It’s good to see a tree being left like this in a public park – fallen dead wood is too often removed in an urge to “tidy up”.  Deadwood is extremely important for biodiversity, and it is often in short supply in our woodlands, so the way that this tree has been retained (and turned into an informative feature) is very welcome.

Nearby in the park, another dead Beech tree has been left unfelled as standing dead wood.

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It seems Bramcote Hills Park has set a good example of thoughtful park management for conservation with these dead trees….

Smooth Newts

The recent sunnier weather has led to sightings of the Smooth Newt in ponds, as they take to the water to breed after their winter hibernation.  Here’s some in a pond on Windmill Allotments in Radford…

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Garden ponds are an important habitat for these miniature “water-dragons”, as well as being one of the best features to create in a garden for wildlife in general.  Such ponds are especially attractive to newts if the pond is near suitable hibernation habitat, such as piles of logs or stones.