A summary of our year so far

This year the conservation society has been busy as always. So far, we’ve already continued our involvement with the signal crayfish and grizzled skipper projects, which are run by the Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group (NottsBAG).

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  Catching signal crayfish    Scrub clearance for the grizzled skipper

We’ve also had some great trips: We visited Big Moor, where we got excellent views of the red deer (Cervus elaphus), and we also visited Langford Lowfields to see the bearded tits (Panurus biarmicus). Here we got a few brief glimpses of the tits and managed to see a peregrine (Falco peregrinus). Other notable birding trips include visiting Rufford to see hawfinches (Coccothraustes coccothraustes), going to Nottingham to see waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus), and seeing a large array of birds at Frampton Marsh, including a long billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) and hen harrier (Circus cyaneus).

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       Red deer at Big Moor                  Hawfinch at Rufford

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Waxwing in Nottingham          Goldeneye at Frampton Marsh

This year we’ve also been attending plenty of fascinating talks, including talks on long eared owls, hazel dormice, barn owls, and raptor persecution. We have plenty more of these in the calendar, such as a talk about the Lincolnshire coast.

As usual we’ve continued our moth trapping with plenty of catches so far, including mottled umbers (Erannis defoliaria), December moths (Poecilocampa populi), and a large quantity of winter moths (Operophtera brumata) (see a male with a wingless female below).

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      Male and female winter moths          December Moth

We have a great variety of events happening soon, such as coppicing, hedge laying, birding at Langford Lowfields, and bird ringing demonstrations on campus. We’ll be sure to keep the blog updated with how all of these events turn out!

 

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Litter Pick at Brackenhurst

18th March, 2017
A recent estate walk with a couple of new NTU international exchange students highlighted (with embarrassment) the amount of litter on the verges of the A612, the main road that runs through our campus and estate. With this in mind it was decided that the time had arrived for Conseco’s first litter pick, not the most glamorous of tasks, but probably one of the more necessary, as these verges were once locally designated as sites of biological interest or SBI, a designation of which was recently removed. Some roadside verges in the UK have been given SSSI status, Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

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Heathland management at Budby

4th March, 2017

Today we made a visit to the northern side of Sherwood Forest, known as Budby South Forest and this is a very new RSPB reserve so there is a lot of management work to be done in order to fulfil the ecological potential of the site.

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Grizzled Skipper Work day

22nd January, 2017

The first Grizzled Skipper work party of 2017 saw a net turn out of 25, with six consoc members present. Simon and the minibus left Brackenhurst at 0900 sharp and made a city pickup before heading down Rushcliffe way to East Leake by 1000 to work on a stretch of railway embankment. It was a windless day with a light dusting of frost, so we carried the kit down the rail line to the site and got going as soon as possible to keep warm.

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Coppicing

19th October, 2016

Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management where trees are cut low to just above the ground level. This technique opens up the tree canopy in the woodland area coppiced, which allows light to reach wildflowers the following spring. The ConSoc team manage part of the woodland by Sheepwalks pond on Brackenhurst Estate, which is populated by Willow spp, by using this traditional method.

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Habitat Management work

2nd October, 2016

Today was our first opportunity of the year to get stuck in and involved with habitat management work at Brackenhurst campus. The session began at 1pm, gathering outside the library before setting off to our location in ConSoc wood. An astonishing turnout of approximately 20 members were seen- very promising for our future events! Once all the members were gathered they were introduced to our committee and then we all made our way to the workshop to collect the tools and do a tool health and safety talk – thanks James Jackson!

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Grizzled Skipper talk with the NBAG

2nd November, 2016

Due to the amount of interest we got regarding the grizzles skipper project we decided it would be a good idea to allow the leader of the Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group (NBAG), Chris Jackson, to tell us more about the project and why it is so important. So on wednesday we all took our places in the lecture room eager to learn more about the scheme.

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