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WFV Upper Teesdale 12.05.09

Upper Teasdale, Spring GentianUpper Teasdale, Spring GentianThis season's extended day out took us to Upper Teesdale where a fine blustery (make that windy!) day allowed ample time to explore the areas of Moor House National Nature Reserve, which included Cow Green Reservoir and Cauldron Snout, and the High Force area.  The altitude (1500ft) meant that most plants were not inclined to put their heads too far above the ground and so some flower recognition was not easy. The wind and the altitude meant also that bird species were limited, but the botanists were especially thrilled with sightings of spring gentian, bird's eye primrose, mountain pansy and moonwort whilst the ornithologically inclined members were over the moon with sightings of a pair of ring ouzels and even more excited when the nest was observed with the female in residence.  The juniper area produced woodcock with young and a fly-past by goosander and RAF Hercules.  Total bird sightings was 36, which considering the altitude and the wind was very good, whilst 46 flowering plants and 7 ferns were recorded.

The day was rounded off with dinner at the Good Beer Guide listed Langdon Beck Hotel, where the Black Sheep was on good form before we returned to Bradford as the clock entered the last hour of an enjoyable day.

The full minibus trip was superbly organised once again by Joan Dobson and Eric Beety.

Please look in the wfv gallery for other photos of the day

Stuart

Boar's Well Wildlife, 1st May

While the sun shone this morning the site was full of activity. Loads of butterflies; orange tip, speckled wood, large white, peacock, small tortoiseshell (national populations were down by 70% last year so all sitings are important). The birds were evident as well with a black cap singing prominently near the middle pylon as well as whitethroat, long tailed tits and others. It wasn't all rosy though; the Japanese Knotweed seems much more vigorous than normal at this time of year. Of course it could be that we don't normally do management work this early in May, or that we have a had an early spring and it is purely bigger but not more vigorous. Here's hoping. But the Giant Hogweed at the UNR is big too - maybe it is something to with the cold winter. We will continue to work hard to control both of these species.

WFV Cattal (Aubert Ings) & Staveley Nature Reserve 05.05.09

there are about 200 varieties of dandelion, some of them quite beautiful like this one captured at Staveley today.there are about 200 varieties of dandelion, some of them quite beautiful like this one captured at Staveley today.Joan Dobson and Sue Zajaczkowska led this week's superbly organised outing to Nidderdale which a record number of 22 members enjoyed. Again we seemed to be lucky with the weather as we headed East, away from the Pennine cloud and rain.

The large attendance meant that we needed to take two minibuses - a first for the group.  Some older members did find entry into and egress from the new minibus somewhat vertiginously challenging but this did not seem to spoil their day.

At Cattal we recorded 24 plants in flower, the stars being wild tulips (which unfortunately had mostly gone over*) and early purple orchids.  The highlight for the birders was the group's first sighting this year of swifts as ten or a dozen streezhed** their way around the site.

Staveley sedge warblerStaveley sedge warblerStaveley produced another first -the group's first recording of rats feeding underneath the bird feeders - very healthy they looked, too!  52 plants were in flower and reed buntings and sedge warblers, amongst many others, sang to us and their intended.  Sue was disappointed that some birds which she had seen on her recce the day before did not show, but not all species take kindly to having their space invaded by 22 bodies!

Total bird sightings for the day was 41.

* Gone over - botanical name for 'died'

** Streezhing - Tordoff name for the call of swifts from the superbly onomatopoeic Russian name for a swift - Streezh

Stuart

WFV Shelf and Local Woodlands 28.04.09

Bluebells in Judy Woods, courtesy of Friends of Judy Woods websiteBluebells in Judy Woods, courtesy of Friends of Judy Woods websiteBrian Ellis and Stuart Tordoff led this week's walk which was local for a change and covered a strenuous circular 5 miles from Shelf via Norwood Green.  Starting at the car park at Bridle Stile we set off down the Calderdale Way to Sun Wood to admire the bluebells.  We then headed back through Shelf Woods to Woodside and lunched in Royds Hall Great Wood which overlooks Jagger Park Wood.  The way was then to Horse Close Bridge (aka Judy Bridge) and Low Wood before climbing to Norwood Green and a short stop at the Wayfarers seats before we returned to Shelf past Ox Heys and North Wood down the 108 steps and past Dean House.

In the absence of Donald, our chief recorder, the bird count was low this week and we struggled to get to 30 species but Joan recorded 65 plants and ferns in flower and we did learn something of the history and the geology of the area.

The forecast rain did not arrive until we had finished our walk which was undertaken by 14 members this week who all seemed to enjoy the day.

Stuart

Friday 24th April 2009, near Bingley St. Ives

Well, it was a more relaxed (i.e. less physical) day this week at a small woodland near Bingley St. Ives. We were working for an initiative called Forest of Bradford, helping to confirm whether or not the site is an ancient woodland. Its status as an ancient woodland was to be tested by carrying out a survey of the species of plants found on the woodland floor.

After a short stroll around the place to become aquainted with some of the plants which are markers for these ancient woodland sites, we were split into small teams and given a map of the site along with a list of plant species to look for. The list included holly, wild garlic, wood sorrel, golden saxifrage, wood sage, bluebell, wood aven, wood anemone and others (to be honest, I would have listed them all here but these are the ones I can remember - there weren't that many more!). Some were easier to identify than others, especially as not all the flowering plants were in flower.

By the end of the day we had compiled and mapped out a comprehensive list, and I guess it's now up to the experts to ascertain the woodland's status. It looks promising though. It would be nice to get an update from Forest of Bradford at some point.

WFV West Tanfield, Nosterfield & Marfield Wetlands 21.04.09

Star of BethlehemStar of BethlehemWe were blessed with superb weather again this week when Margaret Rees led 18 members on a varied day out.  We started at West Tanfield where yellow star of Bethlehem was found amongst many other species on the river bank as we listened to a blackcap singing away.  We then decamped to Nosterfield for a brief visit to the superb bird hide where avocets were the star attraction.  We were serenaded by another blackcap as we ate our lunch at the Tarmac site at Nosterfield before progressing to Marfield Wetlands, situated on the Middleham road out of Masham which was a new destination for the group.  Here we had a plesant 3km walk round the site where Mute swans, greylag geese and great crested grebe were all seen sitting on nests.  The day was rounded off with a short refreshment stop in Masham before we headed off back to Bradford.  A total of 46 bird species was recorded as well as 134 plants, 70 of which were in flower.

Stuart

Friday 17th April 2009, Bowling Park Community Orchard

This week saw us at the Bowling Park Community Orchard. There were lots of jobs on the list for this fairly large site, and we soon got down to work.

I may miss something out, but here's an attempt at listing the tasks we managed to achieve:

- install colourful bird boxes
- clear/tidy woodland area
- mowing
- weeding (a small entry, but a big task!)
- install insect homes
- clear pond area and bog garden
- move willow fence

We were rewarded by glorious sunshine in the afternoon, and, at the end of the day, left tired but satisfied (well, I did at least!) that the site looked better than it did when we arrived!

Hi I'm Chicho, and I'm a Volunteer with Bees. I'm from Spain

Hello, I'm Narciso, but everybody calls me Chicho, and I'm from Spain. I'm a volunteer with Bees and I arrived here 3 months ago, in January. My experience with Bees has been fantastic because I'm learning a lot of things that are different in Spain, for example the people, the society, and the education, as well as how the people here work. It is very interesting to discover a lot of things that before I only imagined, but never experienced. Now I'm having a wonderful experience, because, not only am I learning different things, it's wonderful because I'm working in something that I love. I'm working with people who are marvelous, they help me, teach me, and have given me all that I need since I arrived here, and I feel that I am teaching new things to everybody in all different ways too, and this does one thing: Makes me happier than I imagined before I came here. And one thing more that is very important and I didn't say, is that I am learning a lot of English (language) and this always was a problem for me, and here it's easier than I imagined.

I'm a European Volunteer, and a came here with the help of ‘Everything Is Possible’ (in England) and ‘Afemjo’ (in Spain), and with the help of BEES too of course, because my project is with them. Here I think that I'm like a joker in a pack, and I work on anything that they need me to, with all different projects and activities, and with all the BEES staff. I am feeling like a worker more than a volunteer in BEES, and this means that I feel better.In all this three months I did a lot and different activities and jobs, like:

- I work with Bianca, Jenny and Rachel on the C.S.C. Sessions, doing different things like making a community garden in the Springfield area (plants, trees, and flowers, making some games, playing with the young people, using clay, painting, drawing...) I help them every Monday and Wednesday, and once, I cooked "tortilla espanola" for one group! This work is the most similar to one of the jobs that I did in Spain (teacher).

- I also work with Nick on the E2E (Entry to Employment) sessions with teenagers, where we provide training to help them to get work in the future. For example we do some carpentry work, gardening work and other similar construction work, to get new skills.

- Another job that I have is office work, where I write my diary, write this blog, tidy the office (no a lot, hehe!) tidy the store room and the tools, and help with anything else that somebody needs me for.

- And one of my favorite jobs is on Fridays when I work on the task program with another volunteer from Bradford. During these Fridays we do environmental work, where we go to different green areas in Bradford and do conservation tasks in these natural areas. Since I started work with BEES, I did a lot and different and very interesting things, like: we use different tools like saws, axes, hammers, mauls, loppers... and more than know! I don't remember. We make different habitats for animals, and the wildlife. We built different things with willow; we made charcoal, planted trees, fitted a bench, and of course, cleaned with litter-pickers everywhere we go. I didn't write everything that we did, but it is a lot, and I enjoy it!!. The next Friday we will go to the Orchard to create a tool storage system, making insect homes, and a general maintenance. 

- And some times I go with Amanda, Cathy, Julia or Nick, to work at different sessions in the schools, high-school and primary school, where we do environmental activities and games. Some of these activities were with Buttersaw School, Dixons high school and Green lane primary school...

ok my friends, this is the first time that I write in thos blog, my blog in Bees, and I hope write more in the future, and you will be able read and know, my experience and my little adventures. thanks very much, and if you wants to say something to me, please, do it!

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Friday 3rd April 2009, Reevy Mill Dam, Buttershaw

This week we were at Reevy Mill Dam. Our job was to clear the path which had become overgrown with grass, and to install 2 lovely new benches. We were helped by a group of kids from the local school, some of whom also helped clear a lot of the litter from the dam itself - good job lads!

We also enlisted the help of a couple of lads from the school to try out the height of the benches before committing cement to the holes we had dug. Once levelled out, the benches were fixed into position and the site made good. By the time we had finished, the benches looked like they had been there for years!

There still remains plenty of work to be done here, clearing the paths a little more and making sure the dam is free of litter, but we made a good start and hopefully local people will be inclined to spend a little time to sit and watch the resident geese fighting!

WFV Sizergh Castle & Gardens 7th April 2009

daffodils at Sizerghdaffodils at SizerghJoan Dobson led a full complement of 20 members to Sizergh where we enjoyed a bright, blustery day when the showers that were about fell elsewhere.  The location allowed the option of anything between a leisurely stroll through the gardens and castle and a decent walk over the fells but it wasn't necessary to walk too far to get  spectacular views over Morecambe Bay, with Arnside Knot and viaduct prominent, the mountains of the Lakes and Ingleborough which all gave excellent views.  The wind kept the bird count low this week, but we did manage to record 35 species in the day, with perhaps close-up views of a pair of buzzards being the highlight.  No hawfinches were spotted and we're beginning to think that this bird must be related to the Yeti - does anyone know anyone that's seen one??   Flowers and ferns totalled 33 with the highlights being brown-backed fern (but see note in comments!) and moschatel (our inexperienced recorder had the former down on the bird list as a brown-backed tern until he was told that such a bird doesn't exist!).  BEES is working hard on the second E of the acronym (for educational) but obviously has some way yet to go!

Stuart