Conservation news – summer 2015

Welcome to the second of our regular reviews of the conservation work carried out by FBOG members, with this second bulletin covering the spring and early summer of 2015.

Flowering success at the Tip

Flowering success at the Tip

March ended with the preparation of the seed bed for the wild bird and bumblebee crops at the Old Tip and no time was wasted in getting the seed down. Once again we used a local contractor who sowed approx 50% of the area with the wild bird crop and the other 50% with a flower rich seed mix for nectar-loving insects, especially bumblebees.

The benefits of our labours quickly began to show and by the end of June we had a healthy wild bird crop with Phacelia and Mustard dominating. With Triticale, White Millet and Spring Barley also in the mix we will hopefully have a good supply of seed for overwintering finches, buntings and other passerines at the end of the year.

The new Kestrel box goes up

The new Kestrel box goes up

The bumblebee mix was slower to get going but is now beginning to show real progress, with a wide cross-section of flowering plants starting to come through. Students from Hull University will be monitoring the site and recording both the species found and insect usage of each species during the summer. In addition to the sowing at the Old Tip, FBOG also have an ongoing Cornfield flower project in the Rocket Pole Field and seed was also sown there this spring. It’s not all been about farming for wildlife however, with the Tip now hosting a brand new Kestrel box adding to the Little Owl and Barn Owl boxes already on site.

The new wheelchair-friendly viewing area at the Dam's East hide

The new wheelchair-friendly viewing area at the Dam’s East hide

Away from farmland, a lot of our work centered on The Dams and East Lea. With the breeding season preventing a lot of direct habitat work taking place it was time to further improve access for our less able-bodied visitors and to attend to some of the infrastructure of these popular sites. Following the improvement of the pathways at The Dams, a paved hard standing was added to the wheelchair-friendly viewing area of the main hide – our thanks to Plaxtons for the donation of the paving used, and also to the skills of one of our volunteers, Jeff Cox, who virtually single-handedly (and very professionally) laid the new base.

Hard-paving at the main hide viewing area

Hard-paving at the main hide viewing area

The East Pool hide has always been a bit of an issue for disabled visitors, and so we decided to set about adding a small extension to the hide, in order to give great views of the pools for wheelchair users – it now does!.

Keeping with the theme of improved access, we added a new fence and repositioned the gate on the boardwalk to the East Pool hide, along with strimming the pathway to the hide at East Lea. Busy times!

Anyone interested in joining our work parties would be very welcome, please contact jackwhitehead-at-live.com (changing -at- for @).

Nick Carter