A Gift for The New Year January 2021

A splendid gift for The Hook Nature Reserve. Many thanks to Nick Stevenson and family for this rowan tree. The whole family pitched in, prepared the ground dug the hole and planted the tree.

It will have scented white flowers in spring and bright red berries in the summer – great for wildlife – and will give much pleasure over the coming years. It’s on the north bank of the dyke near the other newly planted saplings.

Wildlife Pond December 2020

The pond has been cleared of weed – for now. EMEC contractors donned their dry suits and got into the pond to pull up as much of the reeds as they could. They discovered a mass of rooted rhizomes in the centre, so they are working out how best to tackle that without damaging the liner.

The reeds grow from wind-blown seed, so it will need ongoing maintenance, however, pond dipping will be possible next year. Thanks to Lady Bay Community Fund for their earlier donation towards this work.

Tree planting December 2020

December is a great time for planting bare rooted trees. We had a great turn out of volunteers to plant more the 50 saplings donated by The Conservation Volunteers and 15 saplings from the Rushcliffe Trees Scheme.

Varieties include: bird cherry, hazel, crab apple, grey willow and rowan. These will give flowers and fruit to support wildlife throughout the year.

The saplings are small and will take a few years to grow, so will need mulching and watering to ensure they survive.

Making a Wildflower Walk September 2020

A team of volunteers has been working hard to create a Wildflower Walk, running through the orchard, past the wildlife pond and joining up with the Home Grove path.

Using traditional Austrian scythes (effective but fearsome) and modern battery driven brushcutters (much easier!) we have cut back the long grass, raked hard to create bare patches and sown seed of native wildflowers.

Hopefully the seeds will germinate over winter and will start growing in spring. We have a back-up plan though and have pre-ordered some plug plants from Naturescape just in case….

Co-op donate £5550.24 to FrOTH November 2020

Fantastic news! The Co-op Community Fund has raised a total of £5550.24 for Friends of The Hook. A huge thank you to all those Co-op members who chose us as their local cause. This will transform our work to improve the nature reserve.

With the first instalment of this money we have already bought a brushcutter, wildflower seeds and plants to help make our Wildflower Walk.

We’ll be able to buy more wildflowers, native shrubs and trees to improve the nature reserve for both wildlife and people.

Hook Bird Watch 30 September 2020

Saturday’s Hook Watch started in spectacular fashion with about 10 Long-tailed Tits flying onto Holme Grove from The Hook along with a few Great Tits – quite the noisy bunch. This was quickly followed by our first Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker for a while and then a distant large gull on the flats on the other side of the Trent which turned out to be only our second record for Great Black-backed Gull – a real monster of a bird as it took off and flew upstream.

Hopes high, we headed into the central area where it was again noticeable that Robins were vocal but Blackbird numbers low – where have they all gone? Wren was heard and seen a few times and it was nice to then have some really good views of Chaffinches. Goldfinches and Greenfinches were hard to find. Warblers are still present with a pair of Blackcap being found and after the Chiffchaff being heard singing earlier in the week, one was heard calling a couple of times.

Overhead were a few Cormorants with a small number of Black-headed Gulls and the odd Rook and Carrion Crow passing by. There were more Jackdaws passing over but, as usual they didn’t land. Magpies are still present in low numbers. On the Trent, Canada Geese numbered 68 birds, so the flock is building up nicely.

A nice morning with 26 species seen. The total for birds seen on or from The Hook is now 60 for the year and with Winter to look forward to, there is hope of getting a total of well into the 70s.

Thanks to Keith Rainford for the report and Woodland Trust for the images

Meadow Flowers July 2020

Every year the meadows are improving in diversity. Once the plants have flowered and set seed, the meadows are cut and the arisings removed. In this way the strong growing grassed are gradually weakened, helping make the conditions for wildflowers to thrive.

There are still some sections of the meadows with very vigorous perennial rye grass, probably sown when the fields were used for grazing. We hope to be able to tackle these sections soon by sowing them with yellow rattle, a parasitic plant which weakens the grass.

It is said that it takes 50 years to make a meadow ….. only another 40 to go!