Parents & Toddlers Summer Stroll

The Clara Vale parent and toddler group took advantage of the sunshine and spent a morning in the nature reserve in late June.

We all enjoyed songs, stories, a visit to the bird hide and a bear hunt through the woods.  We tested out the new dipping platform for size and look forward to coming back when the plants and animal life are established in the pond.

Special Family Entertainment Event: Gone Cuckoo 24th May 2018

The Clara Vale Conservation Group are delighted to present father and son duo Malcolm and Joshua Green, who bring their delightful and thought provoking tour performance to Clara Vale. Collaborating together with music and stories Malcolm and Joshua tell the Cuckoo’s tale of a fascinating journey across Europe, the Sahara and subtropical Africa.

Click here for full information and ticket options for this one-off family entertainment evening.

Gone Cuckoo family entertainment event at Clara Vale Village Hall 24th May 2018

 

 

Early Spring Roundup

The weather hasn’t been so kind to us over the last few weeks, but that hasn’t deterred volunteers from getting together for tasks in the Reserve. First up, earlier in February, work started on the dipping platform for the new pond. This will create a great spot for youngsters to observe and enjoy pondlife. It will give a great focal point and work station station for educational events that we may hold in the future:

In early March some coppicing of hazel was done beyond the bottom pond, before it gets too overgrown and stops light getting to ground plants. It was stacked up to be kept and possibly used in the charcoal burner later in the year:

Whilst coppicing there was an interesting find – orange ladybirds. The orange ladybird is commoner in the south but is increasing nationally. A nice find. It feeds on mildew. Also called 16-spot orange ladybird, Halyzia sedecimguttata:

Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 – Result and pictures

We were delighted with the turnout for this community event in the nature reserve on Sunday 28th January.

Conservation Group members set up a stall in the Reserve, offering free refreshments, cake and biscuits, which seemed to be a good incentive for visitors to come and take part in observing the birds in the reserve at both the hides.  There was a steady stream of families, and children enjoyed making their own bird feeders using very sticky lard and peanut butter, mmmm…. (see images below).  There was some storytelling too.

Despite the blustery conditions, there was a good bird count, the highlight being a group of 11 Yellowhammers who swooped down to feed in front of the Woodland hide.

Full results for the RSPB one hour bird count are below and have been submitted to their database. But first, take a look at a few of the images from a super community morning gathering, click on any image to enlarge and scroll:

 

 

Final count for the Big Garden Birdwatch, Clara Vale Nature Reserve:

Tree sparrow – 15
Blue tit – 5
Great tit – 3
Long tailed tit – 1
Coal tit – 1
Robin – 3
Blackbird 2
Bullfinch – 2
Chaffinch – 6
Pheasant – 6
Mallard – 7
Nuthatch – 2
Magpie – 1
Moorhen – 3
Kingfisher – 1
Yellowhammer – 11
Wren – 1
Dunnock – 2

These are combined for the 2 hides with the maximum numbers taken  so we’ve not double counted.   Also 3 roe deer seen.

We’d also like to thank those people who donated a total of £16.60 to our funds.

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch 2018

Join in with us at the Clara Vale Nature Reserve, as once again  we take part in the this national birdwatching event on Sunday 28th January 2018 between 10:30am and 12:00 noon.

The idea is to count the maximum number of each species seen in exactly one hour and submit the results to the RSPB. This helps them build a national picture of trends in the UK bird population. More information about what they do with the data here.

  • We will be offering free refreshments in the bird hides for those interested in taking part, come along and help us record the number of birds seen;
  • Learn more about the birds you see, with help from birdwatchers and guides;
  • Free children’s activities based on birds and pondlife in the Reserve.

 

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Moth Collection Success

Thanks to Brian Pollinger and Gordon Pollinger the event was successful, with a great turnout to the event. The 125mv lamp was used to lure the moths into the trap, to be examined the next morning and released again (no moths were harmed!)

The thriving moth population in Clara Vale is shown with a total of 91 moths being collected overnight, with in these results were a range of 43 species. This is a great result for our community, as the growth in moth population and the species within shows a growing diversity in Clara Vale, which will hopefully continue to grow in the future.

Some images of the moth trapping results are below, as well as the table of results. Desrciption of the moths in the photographs are below:

1+4.Poplar Hawk Moth

2.’Woody’ the moth who has adapted itself over time to survive by disguising into woody environments, such as the nature reserve

3. Peppered moth, which has also adapted throughout time to disguise into the cloudy environment (eg- it darked through the industrial period, but is now adapting back to being more cream)

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Moth Trapping 23/24th June

Come along to 13, Edington Gardens at around 9pm to find out how moths are caught for identification. A powerful lamp attracts the moths to the trap. It is left on overnight and the catch is examined in the morning. So if you can’t come along on Friday night come along at around 9 am on Saturday morning to see what we’ve caught. Unless it rains or blows a gale there should be some of these beautiful insects for you to look at at.

Will the swifts return?

The swift boxes on the Village Hall have been opened up (we closed them to prevent sparrows taking them over) and are waiting for the first swifts to take up residence.  If you’ve passed the Village Hall you will have heard the calls of swifts and thought “They’re here!” Not yet. To encourage passing swifts to stay a while and view their possible new homes, we have rigged up a speaker that broadcasts swift calls throughout the day. So far not many swifts have passed by. This year swifts have trickled into the country from sub-Saharan Africa and so far not many reaching the north east. A couple were seen flying around the village recently but did not stay. So keep a watch on the boxes. We’ll be broadcasting the calls for a couple more weeks. Lets hope they find the new homes irresistible.

Did you know?….. a swift spends almost all its life in the air, only landing to breed. they sleep and even mate on the wing. A young swift, having left the nest, will stay in the air for up to three years before making a nest and breeding.

Coffee Morning/RSPB Big Birdwatch

The January Clara Vale Village Hall Coffee Morning coincides with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, so the CVCG are joining forces with the Village Hall Committee to make a little event out of it.

Alongside the usual tea, coffee and delicious home-made cakes, if that weren’t reason enough we have opportunites to:

  • Make a bird feeder to take home
  • Try out a bird-related art activity with local artist Jonnie Foker* (and view some of his work)
  • Visit our bird hides and complete the RSPB survey (11:00 – 12:00)

All funds raised from the activities will help us to purchase bird feed for the Nature Reserve.

*Jonnie Foker is a member of the Society of Wildlife Artists and Bearpark Artists Co-operative, specialising in birdlife. Jonnie will provide a taster art activity and bring some of his work to view or buy. Find out more at bearparkartists.co.uk

When: Saturday 28th January 10:30 – 12:30

Where: Clara Vale Village Hall

 

 

 

Swift nestboxes fitted to the Village Hall

As renovation works get under way at Clara Vale Village Hall, CVCG founding member Gordon Pollinger spotted men with a cherry picker machine used for accessing the roof and saw an opportunity to have some stock nestboxes for Swifts put up. The contractors were obliging and so we now have seven nextboxes fitted.

Sswift-silhouettewifts are fast, agile fliers with a similar silhouette to a Swallow or Housemartin, and although looking black against the sky, are actually dark brown in colour. They spent almost all of lives on the wing. Swifts generally visit the UK  from April to August.

The next boxes are specially designed with the entrance porthole at an underside angle, which will hopefully attract the Swifts to the sheltered position on the north side of the Hall under the eaves.  The narrow, angled nestbox entrance also has some deterrent effect on other small birds.

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You can find out more about Swifts by visiting the RSPB’s Swift information page.