Erewash Meadows

May 31, 2010 in Latest Patch Sightings by ChrisLuv

Swifts, Swallows, Gadwall (pair), Shoveler (pair), Reed Bunting, Mallards, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Tits (something we couldn’t pinpoint was getting them very agitated too), Mute Swan, Common Whitethroat, Barn Owl.

Bennerley Today

May 31, 2010 in Latest Patch Sightings by Bennerley

Bennerley Marsh. 3 Black-Headed Gull, Common Tern, 3 Swallow, 2 Swift, Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, 15 Lapwing, Sparrow Hawk, 4 Grey Heron. Chat Corner. 2 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Linnet, 2 Pheasant.

Smooth Newt. Blue Tailed Damselfly [Teneral] Butterflies. Large White, Orange Tip.

Bennerley Sightings

May 31, 2010 in Sightings by davejsblog

Bennerley Marsh. 3 Black-Headed Gull, Common Tern, 3 Swallow, 2 Swift, Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, 15 Lapwing, Sparrow Hawk, 4 Grey Heron. Chat Corner. 2 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Linnet, 2 Pheasant.

Smooth Newt. Blue Tailed Damselfly [Teneral] Butterflies. Large White, Orange Tip.

Bennerley Sightings

May 31, 2010 in Latest Patch Sightings by Bennerley

Bennerley Marsh. 3 Black-Headed Gull, Common Tern, 3 Swallow, 2 Swift, Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, 15 Lapwing, Sparrow Hawk, 4 Grey Heron. Chat Corner. 2 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Linnet, 2 Pheasant.

Smooth Newt. Blue Tailed Damselfly [Teneral] Butterflies. Large White, Orange Tip.

Orchid

May 31, 2010 in Photo's. by davejsblog

DSCF4920

DSCF4914 

Taken at Bennerley

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by SteveI

Wharf Green

May 29, 2010 in Latest Patch Sightings by SteveI

5 Blackbirds,2 magpies,9 goldfinch,3 starlings,4 greenfinch,50+ flock of woodpigeons,whitethroat2 crows 10+rooks,2 swift 5 swallows 1kestrel1 great tit,1blue tit chick on floor

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by SteveI

Wharf Green

May 28, 2010 in Latest Patch Sightings by SteveI

6 Blackbirds,4 house sparrows, 1 Dunnock, 2 Great tits,3 Chaffinch,3 Magpie,20+ wood pigeon

Newt Counting

May 24, 2010 in ChrisLuv's Birding Blog by ChrisLuv

Great Crested Newt

Great Crested Newt

The last few weeks have seen me very busy, both at work (boo!) and with lots of wildlife activity (hurray!), both researching current nature conservation in the area and also getting out and about and learning more about the wildlife in the area (and wildlife in general).

One such activity took place last night when I arranged for Chris Monk from DARG (Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group) to come and look at our Great Crested Newt population at the old coal processing plant, and to help count them. DaveJ has reported them to me initially, and after a visit last week when there were several were visible, a few of us decided that it was worth getting them recorded properly.

One of the easiest ways of counting newts, as I’ve now found out, is to use a powerful torch to pick them out when it’s dark. However, this involves disturbing them and so must be done by someone with a licence, hence why I initially emailed DARG  from their website to see if anyone was aware of them at Bennerley, and if not if anyone was available to help. To the credit of Chris Monk he immediately replied, offered a number of nights he could attend, and, despite the area being just the wrong side of the border, came out at 9pm last night to help me – despite having a long drive from the Peak District to get out here. What a guy!

Chris was obviously very knowledgeable, having 25 years experience in the field, and I learnt a lot during the count. We started at one corner of each pond and worked our way round with the torches, checking for newts both on the bottom of the pond and on the surface, where there may be females laying eggs. It had been a hot day and so we also stood a good chance of seeing them come to the surface for a breather in those conditions.

The ponds/pools are the left-overs from the coal processing, and are steep sided and quite deep. They have various amounts of foliage, the main constituent being Typhas, which, along with the varying murkiness in the pools, made the counting process rather variable. The other factor was access to the water level, at times clambering down was very difficult and in the dark there was a risk of falling in – so at times the best we could do was count from the top of the high sides.

From the start Chris’s experience told, there were low numbers in the first two pools but they helped me “get my eye in”; to start with he was picking out everything ahead of me and I was left to feel a little redundant. It did help me appreciate the difference between the smooth and Great Crested Newts though, and between the sexes, so by the time the third pool came along then I was feeling more comfortable. I can’t do justice to the abundance of information out there on identification, so I won’t try, but I did find this video from the bbc entertaining.

The third pool, the eastern-most, was by far the most exciting and abundant of the three, and we quickly got over 50 of them in just one corner, the north-west corner, and we hoped to continue this count around the whole pond. However, for whatever reason they seemed to prefer the one corner and we didn’t quite manage the hundred we wanted in that one pool. The reason for their preference of that corner of the pool was something Chris couldn’t answer, but we mused that perhaps the shallowness and clarity of the water in that area helped, and perhaps it was also out of the shade of the viaduct in daylight too.

So by 11pm we were done, we’d had a few other wildlife sightings that evening, Mallards threatening to ruin the count by landing on the ponds, Bats hunting over the ponds – perhaps attracted to the moths, who in turn we attracted to the light from our torches. We also had two large birds of prey low the sewage works area, but whether they were Buzzards we couldn’t tell, at first I thought Barn Owls but I think their size was against that – Buzzards in the moonlight wasn’t something I haven’t witnessed before.

I must again thank Chris for his time, he’s a top bloke and I remain in his debt for helping with the count and teaching me just a little of what he’s learnt in his time. Check out the DARG site and, if its something that interests you, then consider joining the group. I’m certainly going to, my son will be fascinated with the slimier side of life when he gets older and I can’t wait to show him.

The final counts:

Western-most Pond 8 Smooth Newt and 6 Great Crested Newt

Middle Pond 4 Smooth Newt and 20 Great Crested Newt

Eastern-most Pond 2 Smooth Newt and 89 Great Crested Newt

Great Crested Newt Count

May 24, 2010 in Latest Patch Sightings by ChrisLuv

A Great Crested Newt count was undertaken last night on the three ponds under the Bennerley Viaduct. Many thanks to Chris Monk from Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group for helping with the count.

Western-most Pond 8 Smooth Newt and 6 Great Crested Newt

Middle Pond 4 Smooth Newt and 20 Great Crested Newt

Eastern-most Pond 2 Smooth Newt and 89 Great Crested Newt

This represents a significant local population.

Erewash Meadows

May 24, 2010 in Latest Patch Sightings by Paul Bagguley

2 Great Crested Grebe on Brinsley flash on Saturday 22nd May, 2/3 Garden Warblers singing in the ‘Hills n holes’ area on Sunday 23rd May.