2015, Year of the Adder

This video from South Yorkshire in England is called Adders mating (Vipera berus).

2015 is not just the Year of Vincent van Gogh. And the Year of the Penny Bun for mycologists. And the Year of the Goat in the Chinese calendar (starting on 19 February). And the Year of the Badger.

The Dutch RAVON herpetologists have decided that 2015 is the year of the only venomous snake in the Netherlands: the adder. They hope that this year there will be more measures for a better environment for adders, like tunnels enabling them to cross roads.

See also here.

Bird news from England

This video from Britain is called Separating Short-eared and Long-eared Owls.

A report on Twitter from Flamborough in England says that today, they saw a short-eared owl; 27 whooper swans flying south; and two snow buntings.

English sculpture commemorates World War I

This video is called World War I “Celebration” (GRRRR).

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday 7th October 2014

THE tragedy of World War I is being commemorated in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire.

A sand sculpture of a woman clutching a telegram informing her of her husband’s death has been created in a paved area outside Hebden Bridge town hall to mark 100 years since the senseless slaughter.

The sculpture is the work of Jamie Wardley, who will be reworking the sculpture twice over coming months.

In the first re-working, now complete, the woman became middle aged. Later she will be elderly to signify that although people learn to cope with loss, the hurt felt through tragedy is eternal.

The sculpture is modelled on a local woman called Hannah Greenwood. Her family name dates back centuries, but as is the case with many people, some of her extended family is also German.

The work was commissioned by Labour-run Hebden Royd Town Council.

See also here.

English bird news update

This video from Israel is called Masked Shrike – Lanius nubicus.

From Spurn Bird Observatory in Yorkshire, England:

27th September 2014 – Saturday

Migration/Sea-watch 06:30-12:00 14:30-15:45 16:30-18:30. F1-2 SW-W some cloud in the morning soon cleared to leave a bright and warm day.

The MASKED SHRIKE was again present in Well Field until mid-afternoon when it flew across the road and stayed in Middle Hedge for the rest of the day. If coming tomorrow please remember to park only in Well Field.

A juvenile Common Rosefinch was found in the Heligoland Trap at the Warren where it was trapped and ringed then later seen in Church Field. Other grounded migrants included 2 Rock Pipit, 1 Redstart, 7 Whinchat, 3 Stonechat, 5 Wheatear, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Brambling.

Again some passage included 350 Pink-footed Geese, 1 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 48 Common Scoter, 39 Red-throated Diver, 40 Gannet, 1 Shag, 3 Grey Heron in off, 4 Sparrowhawk, 1 Snipe, 91 Little Gull, 17 Sandwich Tern, 4 Common Tern, 4 auk sp., 1 Puffin, 48 Swallow, 800 Meadow Pipit, 4 Rock Pipit in off, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Jackdaw, 4 House Sparrow, 65 Tree Sparrow, 15 Chaffinch, 20 Greenfinch, 1 Siskin, 47 Linnet, 4 Reed bunting.

Other birds present included 2 Greylag Geese, 12 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 77 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 1 Common Scoter, 6 Little Egret, 1 Common Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 3 Water Rail, 1 Little Stint on Kilnsea Wetlands, 4 Ruff, 2 Jack Snipe on Canal Scrape, 5 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper.

Making your own wildlife reserve

This video from Britain is called Building Communities – Little Ouse Headwaters Project. It says about itself:

Lying on the border between Norfolk and Suffolk, the Little Ouse Headwaters project has worked tirelessly to re-establish a continuous corridor of wildlife habitat along the headwaters of the Little Ouse River.

The project was awarded £44,993 in Biffa Award funding. They scooped the Rebuilding Biodiversity prize at the Biffa Awards 2011.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

How to set up a nature reserve

Ever dreamed of running your own wildlife reserve? Denso Marston nature reserve is run by the local community; here are tips and advice from the experts about how to do it yourself

Katherine Purvis, Lucy Palmer

Monday 22 September 2014 14.31 BST

15. Denso Marston Nature Reserve

Age: 21 years old

Location: Baildon, West Yorkshire

How many people involved?

Warden Steve Warrillow manages the reserve and has 14 volunteers, who all live locally. On average the reserve has 5,500 visitors a year.

What happens?

The nature reserve hosts a range of events and activities including pond-dipping, moth nights and wildflower exploring, as well as a variety of guided walks to listen to the dawn and evening chorus, and to watch out for bats. Spider Club takes place on the last Saturday of the month and there are 20 people involved: 10 children and 10 adults.

Does the group get funding?

Denso Marston Nature Reserve is partly funded through membership, which costs £6 annually per household. The Friends of Denso Marston Nature Reserve group helps to fund activities, and the local parish council has also chipped. …

What would they like to do next?

“We’ve been cultivating a space behind the education centre for the Spider Club for a while now, putting in raised beds for wildflowers, veggies and fruit,” says Steve. “The beds are all built out of recyclable waste from the Denso factory – I think the only thing we had to buy were the nails, and even those some of the volunteers brought in for us. We even had an old bath donated which we are turning into a pond.” In the future, the reserve would like to carry out more documentation of the various species that live there, especially birds, spiders and other bugs.

What can you do to help?

Visitors are always welcome at the nature reserve ­– the best time to visit is at the weekend. Contact Steve about Spider Club: divingbeetlewarrillow@gmail.com

Can I set something like this up in my area?

The Wildlife Trusts manage 2,300 nature reserves across the UK, Isle of Man and Alderney. Find a nature reserve near you using the interactive map here. You can also see the Trusts’ range of wildlife-orientated events around the country here.

Anna Guthrie, WT spokeswoman, says: “If you have an area where you can make the most of the land’s potential for wildlife, consider creating a new nature reserve and adding a bit more to our national network of places for wildlife. Size doesn’t matter: whether you have a window box or an entire estate, the principles are the same. By providing food, water, shelter and a place to breed we can help wildlife to thrive.” Some tips:

· Look at how your land links to the wider network of wildlife corridors and important sites for wildlife in the landscape, and consider how your land could function to expand this network.

· Seek expert advice! Your local Wildlife Trust would be a good place to start.

· Survey your site really thoroughly before you do anything to find out what lives there already and how wildlife is already using the site.

· Decide on what species can realistically be attracted to the site and what species already there could have their populations enhanced – they might be common or rare species but important locally.

· Draw up a long-term plan which includes maintaining the site and monitoring it. You might create new areas of habitat, restore existing habitats or perhaps leave some areas wild and untouched.

· Then raise or find the money you need to implement your plan.

· Seek help from volunteers in your community if needed and put your plans for nature into action. Start to have fun!

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust welcomes volunteers at its nine visitor centres, at its Steart site in Somerset, and its headquarters at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. Click here to find a volunteering opportunity in your area; you can also check out this map from the Conservation Volunteers.

For inspiration seek out the Little Ouse Headwaters Project, which lies between Blo’ Norton in Norfolk and Thelnetham in Suffolk. Run entirely by volunteers, the project has transformed two agriculturally derelict sites over the past 10 years to provide a safer habitat for many rare and localised species. The project has also created 800 metres of new footpaths and a footbridge, allowing the community access to enjoy the site.

The Amateur Entomologists’ Society runs The Bug Club for children interested in insects and creepy crawlies. Members receive a magazine, merchandise and the opportunity to sign up for events and field trips.

The Freshwater Habitats Trust has a variety of resources and factsheets on different kinds of habitats, as well as a comprehensive toolkit for creating your own wildlife pond.