KEEP UP TO DATE WITH ALL OF
OUR PROJECTS AND NEWS
Hazel Dormice surveys
Date TBC, Cookham Dean
Dates TBC, Battlemead
September, Furze Platt School
Dates TBC, Various locations
Easter Wildlife Scavenger Trail
Monday 5th April, 10am, Maidenhead Thicket
Saturday 6th and 20th March, Battlemead
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
January : 29th-31st
Wildcast with Rob Castell
Past event: find link below to listen.
Go and check out our sponsors from the event!
We are in the process of setting up a series of wildflower workshops with Furze Platt Senior School in September. We will be teaching students how to prepare the soil and sow the seeds to make sure the flowers have the best chance at survival.
We will also be teaching students about the importance of wildflowers meadows for increasing biodiversity. We hope that by running these workshops we will encourage more young people to think about the importance of wildlife in their gardens and green spaces.
For more information on this project and ways you could get involved, drop us a message on our social media or email us.
HAZEL DORMOUSE SURVEY
We have begun an on-going project to eventually cover a large proportion of the woodland area surrounding the SL6 area to survey the potential population of hazel dormice. Hazel or common dormice are extremely rare now in the UK, with their numbers having fallen just over 50% in the last 20 or so years. They are predominantly found in the South of the UK which is why we were keen to see whether our woodland is home to a stable and more importantly, potentially thriving population.
We recently teamed up with a member of the Mammal Society, Damian Carter, and our friend Brian Clews from WildCookham to teach us how we can carry out a successful survey of these creatures in one of our local woods. The key, Damian and Brian advised, was to look for evidence of their feeding habits, namely, the hazelnut. We began walking around areas of the wood which had a large number of hazel trees so that we could inspect the ground surrounding it for empty hazelnut shells. Many small mammals will feed on hazelnuts so it was important to have an idea of the different markings and condition the nut was left in. We found that almost all of our empty nuts appeared to have been eaten by squirrels and found no evidence of the hazel dormice during this survey. However, we are keen to repeat the survey, paying closer attention to a more concentrated area of the wood to get more evidence.
Watch this space for more info on our hazel dormice surveys.
MOTH SURVEY WITH BRAIN CLEWS
Brian took us to a centre in Cookham Dean where they had set up a moth trap during the week in the hope that we could help with identifying those which had been caught. The moth trap we used is in the third picture down on the right.
Unfortunately due to the very wet weather, this time we were relatively unsuccessful as only a few moths were caught. We hope to do this again with Brian and report our findings to help with monitoring moth numbers in our region.
BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT
Towards the end of Summer our social media officer, Kim, entered us into the Big Butterfly Count, which is a nationwide survey to help assess the health of our environment simply by counting the number and species of butterflies found. We were keen to link this in with our alliance with the Save Battlemead campaign in Maidenhead which is fighting to protect and conserve areas of greenfield sites along the river Thames leading between Cookham and Maidenhead, which provide a home to a huge number of species, making it extremely biodiverse.
We spent an hour walking around the main field looking for and identifying species of butterflies. We conducted our survey on a relatively sunny day in September at 5pm, so the majority of butterflies would have settled in for the night. However, we counted many meadow browns and also a small white.
We hope that by conducting more biodiversity surveys in Battlemead we will be helping to support the evidence that it should remain a conservation area.
How do you conduct a successful nature walk? We had no idea until Brian Clews taught us how!
The key is to take your time - quite literally, make sure you have a few hours spare! We spent a whole hour and only managed to cover a few hundred meters of Battlemead. The slower you walk, the more you see! And we did - check out the awesome photo captured by Hattie of the very rare wasp spider. We managed to spot two on this occasion and they did not disappoint!