This blog is written by employees of Nottinghamshire County Council, the views in this blog are personal and may not be shared by the County Council.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Where there's a Willow, there's a way.......

This time it was a controlled felling of a Willow. The previous time a Willow had fallen in the winds and flattened one of our floating islands (although a Water Rail didn't seen to mind as it was photographed using it as a bridge).
This one dropped a smallish branch in the high winds, but then recently dropped another, and it was for the public's safety that the tree had to come down as staff were worried another branch would fall.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Setting up home.

You would think that with all the trees at Rufford, birds would find plenty of places to nest......? 
Apparently not, here are some pictures of where birds have bought up their families this year.

The top left nest is where a Blue Tit has successfully fledged it's young from inside a security camera!!!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

All grown up.

Just before the team cleared up a Willow which had fallen on one of the floating islands, we were greeted by this lot. In the photo there are around 11 ducklings (which are probably from the brood of 16 mentioned in the blog), and a different family of 2 younger ones with mum close by. 

There was around 16 of the older ducklings in the area but only 11 posed for the photo. Later on a Coot with a nest nearby was not happy by all the attention and chased everything off!!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Broad-bodied Chaser (Dragonfly)

Whilst down the Conservation Area today something was seen whizzing around, it looked like a giant Hornet. On closer inspection (whilst standing on one foot, in nettles, with full zoom on my camera) it turned out to be a female Broad-bodied Chaser. 

A tad early but with the current climate anything is possible. Damselflies have also been spotted.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Wren photos

Here are a few photos of a Wren seen at Rufford.

It can be seen finding an insect in the bark 
of a tree and quickly devouring it.

Here we can see it having a bounce around
on an old tree stump, boooiiiing!!

Peekaboo. Here it can be seen 
playing hide and seek.

Here it is again singing it's heart out.

And here it is collecting nest material.
It is the male who collects nest material building
up to 10 nests in which the female gets to 
choose her favourite.

Something Stoatally different

Here is a couple of shots of a Stoat which has been sighted in the Conservation Area.

Although not visible in the photo the difference between a Stoat and a Weasel is the colour of the tip of the tail. A Stoat has a black tip and the Weasel has a white tip. A Stoat is also marginally bigger.

Blue and Green should (hopefully) never be seen

Algae that is. Here at Rufford we have an extensive water course including a lake and a Conservation Area. We test the water at both sites weekly for pollution and signs of the infamous Blue Green Algae.
We collect a water sample at the start of the week and get results soon thereafter. We get an email stating the risk and amount of Algae. The Blue Green Algae is harmful to animals and spreads rapidly when it gets hotter.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Breeding birds.

Rufford Abbey Country Park is host to many types of breeding birds. From the mallard with sixteen ducklings to the Swallows that migrate back to the spot where they nested the previous year.
This year we have already seen Canada Geese goslings, Mallard ducklings, young Coot, Robin and Blackbird fledglings.  

The migratory Swallows who were first sighted by staff on the 5.4.14 are already feeding youngsters and the elusive pair of Gadwall have been seen gathering nesting material. The Jackdaws have also been seen gathering leaves and twigs and eggshells have been found where the parent bird cleans out the nest after the chicks have hatched.

Keep your eyes peeled for signs of breeding birds but DO NOT DISTURB them as they may abandon their nest.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

What's going on here.......?

Whilst in the Conservation Area today I went in the search of more wildlife, and heard a Sedge Warbler and a Whitethroat singing away in the sunshine. This ups the total of warblers down there now as we have had Chiffchaff and Blackcap already. Fingers crossed for Willow Warbler and Reed Warbler in the near future.
I was looking at all the nettles that need strimming and I came across these..........

..........if you look closely you can see a load of small caterpillars on a fine silk like web. Any guesses as to what they are?? Hopefully in a few weeks we will see lots of what these turn into!!

Nettles are good and bad for wildlife, as you can see they are key to certain species but they can over-run an area so I will be strimming most of them but keeping some micro-habitats of them for particular wildlife.