It sounds like something we might have here in Dacres Wood Nature Reserve, and maybe we will in some way one day. But Leaf and Groove is actually a local initiative to open up an empty shop near the now community run Forest Hill library, open to a range of community uses, selling books & records to generate income for the library. We’ve been talking to the people behind this about ways in which we can support each other, linking us as Friends of Dacres Wood more closely into all the other local community initiatives happening round here.
Many of you reading this will already have seen the Spacehive fundraising site for Leaf and Groove
who, as at the time of writing need to raise a final £1,500 in pledges over the next five days.
I’ve pledged £100 personally, and it would be wonderful if people reached by us as Friends of Dacres Wood were able to get Leaf and Groove over the finishing line.
Early Sunday April 9th we’ll be meeting, with Friends of Mayow Park, at the Reserve for a combined bird walk round the reserve and then Mayow Park, coming back to the Field Studies centre for some tea and coffee.
Last year we did this one very cold March morning, starting at 7.30. At least we were rewarded with the sight of a chilly looking sparrowhawk, fluffing up its feathers high up in one of the Turkey Oaks, its eloquent body language saying it was too ****** cold to go hunting, and so what if those humans got a good site of me for once?
Seems like it was also too cold for me to get my camera out, so no sparrow hawk pictures, so here instead …
This year, I’m thinking we might start earlier, but I’ve yet to arrange that with Paul, our birding expert, so watch this space. I’ll be tweeting, so anyone following @dacreswood will get live updates on what we see, and where we are, so can come and join us if you miss an early start. If you’re not on Twitter, contact me for my mobile number, and I can respond to texts from anyone wanting to join us.
Updates to follow, including a list of the species Paul thinks we’re likely to see.
At 9.30, Caroline, I and maybe a few others, will be at the Reserve from 9.30 doing some conservation work. There’s an unsightly bonfire site we’re thinking of covering over with some of the reeds we pulled from the pond last year, and still lots of brambles to be dug out from the south end of the pond. I hope also to get round to measuring some of the tree girths.
Then, at 2.30, I and anyone else who want to will be going round taking photos of what we see growing, rotting, flying, swimming, creeping, crawling, maybe floating in the pond in the case of frogspawn. Help us make a year round record of the Reserve.
It’s also a chance to learn about what we are doing and thinking of doing at Dacres Wood, and sharing any ideas which occur to you.
Thanks to Tom for sending these through – not sure if it was you who tool them or Kayla. In any case, it’s great to see what someone else sees to photograph
It wasn’t great weather for our first ‘last Tuesday’ yesterday, especially for taking photos, but good company all the same, and a special welcome to two new volunteers, Kayla & Tom. Continue reading Grey weather, cheerful company!
Morning – 9.30:
I’m going to be in Dacres Wood tomorrow, in the morning, starting 9.30, doing some conservation work. Could be putting on waders and pulling out more reed sweet-grass, but if that’s too damp and cold, it could be the time to measure the girths of those big old Turkey Oaks. Just how old are they? This should give us a clue. Nick Pond is also going to have a quick look round today, and get back to me with any other conservation tasks to be done.
Not strictly conservation, there’ll be things to do tidying up round the Field Studies centre, but I’m also thinking about putting together a whole list of things to do to make the place more welcoming, and organise a special volunteering day to work on this. Below is how Iris at Grow Mayow has attached boards to some uninsulated walls, and started to wall paper them – the sort of thing I’m thinking about.
Afternoon – 2.30
Then, in the afternoon, I’m going to be going round with my camera, photographing mainly plants, but anything else natural which catches my eye. I’m expected at least three more people to turn up with cameras, maybe with more of an artistic eye. We’ll we doing these walks / photo blogging sessions the last Tuesday afternoon of each month, and hoping to capture the changing moods, vegetation of the reserve.
After a couple of festive days staying inside, I was ready for some fresh air. This perfect winters day, bright but cold was made for a short bird walk round the reserve. My son Nick and I wrapped up and set off.Inside the reserve all was quiet and 2 walks around the perimeter yielded a meagre 4 bird species; wood pigeon, robin, collared dove and great tit….possibly my poorest return ever here. However with few leaves round perhaps many birds were foraging in gardens; a more reliable food source. Undeterred we stuck around and as the day closed in birds began to arrive to roost and our numbers picked up. We saw wren, blackbird, goldfinch, chaffinch, blue tit, carrion crow and we heard a great sotted woodpecker in one of the tallest oaks. Try as we might all we gotf for our efforts to locate it were sore necks. However there was some reward in the form of a pair of nuthatches. I’ve always been puzzled why, with so many mature oaks in the wood I’ve never seen nuthatches before (one heard last summer), especially as they’re abundant in Mayow Park. Anyway as the temperature dropped we prepared to leave . Hard work but with the nuthatch sighting, ultimately rewarding. On the way out Nick saw a cormorant skirt the reserve and on the way home i picked up the churriing of a party of long tailed tits in a Silverdale garden and enjoy edged views. A nice ending to the walk.
From April, we will be resuming our regular Open Days on the last Saturday of each month, so
- April 29th
- May 27th
- Jun 24th
- July 29th
- August 26th
- September 30th
These will be from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm, and an opportunity just to look around the reserve in your own time. However, we hope also to organise special activities, appealing to young families, such as a Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and blackberrying combined with den building. (The yields of blackberries were not great in 2016, but kids still had a lot of fun with their dens!)
We are also planning to set up moth traps the evening before, and have one of more volunteers come in to identify what there is fluttering around the reserve at the different times of the year. We will be doing this to develop a record of the sites bio-diversity, but we hope also to be able to share some of what we find with Open Day visitors. Also, on the “last Saturday” mornings, from 11.00, volunteers who have done a “Curious entomologists” course with professional entomologist Richard Jones will also look for other insects.
All welcome – and a special welcome to those who like us are interested to know what insects we have! We will be at the entrance for 11.00, but leave a message with the comments below if you want to come along, but are not sure if you will be there at 11.00!
In 2017, from March, depending a bit on the weather, we’re going to have two regular sessions at the nature reserve on the last Tuesdays of each month – so
- March 28th
- April 25th
- May 30th
- June 27th
- July 25th
- August 29th
- September 26th
- October 24th
From 9.30, a group of conservation volunteers will spend a couple of hours doing whatever might be needed round the site to improve bio-diversity, conditions for our wildlife, people getting about.
Then, in the afternoon from 2.30 for an hour, another group will go round identifying plants, seeing what flowers are out, what leaves appearing, and taking photos which will be posted to the website and on Facebook as a record of the reserve through the seasons
For both, just turn up, although be ready to get muddy, or even wet, if doing conservation work in the pond, so dress sensibly. And, you will be expected to accept some basic health and safety requirements. For identifying plants, please bring cameras, and share photos!
If you want to check about any of these, post a comment below
Some serious progress made on clearing reeds from the pond this Saturday, thanks to volunteers from GoodGym – and waders supplied by LB Lewisham!
Continue reading Thank you, GoodGym!