The Community Orchard on The Hook nature reserve is looking good. The fruit trees have been pruned, staked and mulched, so we’re hoping for a great harvest this summer. Friends of The Hook have been able to pay for a fruit tree expert, Marc Richmond, to come and prune the trees and advise on their care, thanks to the Co-op Local Causes fund which is raising money for us. (Details follow in a separate post.)Thanks to the many volunteers who helped over the winter, staking, feeding and mulching the trees. The trees have responded well to this extra care, so be sure to enjoy the blossom on your walk around the reserve. We’ve also planted primroses and cowslips in the orchard to create a spring wildflower walk. See if you spot them. We’re hoping they will set seed and spread in future years.
The warm spring sunshine is bringing out butterflies on the reserve, so keep a lookout and see what you can spot. On Monday we saw 3 Peacock, 3 Brimstone and 3 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. This summer we were hoping to run a butterfly transect on the reserve. This is when a defined route is walked every week by volunteers and observations are recorded and sent to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Service. The transects are now suspended because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, however, individual volunteers will be walking the route and recording their observations as part of their daily exercise and we’ll share their observations with you. We have been a lot of work improving habitats for butterflies by planting food plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for butterflies. Caterpillars of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacocks love nettles, whilst Brimstone caterpillars love Alder Buckthorn which we planted over the winter. Let us know if you spot anything else.
All images from Butterfly Conservation
All our education and conservation events are cancelled until further notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The reserve remains open but please use it responsibly. Keep your distance – at least 2 metres/6 feet from others. Enjoy the outdoors, but ensure that wildlife is undisturbed by keeping to the paths and keeping dogs under control.
We now have 10 new riverside trees on The Hook nature reserve. Thanks to Rushcliffe Borough Council for providing these native trees and to Streetwise for planting them. There are 2 Alder, 1 Aspen, 1 English Oak, 1 Field Maple, 1 Large- leaved Lime, 1 Small-leaved Lime and 3 White Willows. In time we plan to create a ‘green corridor’ along by the river.
After continual rain the water levels are very high. The water in the dyke is right up to the top of the banks, but holding and levels are now due to fall. Lots of soggy paths…..
A report from Keith Rainford on ‘Hook Watch’ Saturday 8th February 2020
What a great start to the weekend. The morning began fairly warm(ish). At least 3 Song Thrushes singing their hearts out and then two quick views of Sparrowhawk and a male Bullfinch. The temperature however quickly dropped as the group were treated to a second display of singing by a significant number of Greenfinches – at least 12 with a supporting cast of Goldfinches, a few Great Tits and the odd Chaffinch, Robin and Blackbird. Further into the walk the jackpot was hit with stunning views of at least 3 male and 1 female Bullfinch – 3 together in one ‘favoured’ tree. Elsewhere over the river and the grassland, Black-headed Gulls were ever present joined at times by a few Rooks. The river itself was quietish – probably due to the number of boats from the local boat clubs, however Cormorants were regularly seen along with the odd Moorhen and Mallard. The other usual corvids, Woodpigeons and Ferals were around to complete the picture.
25 species for the day.
Planting a selection of flowering and fruiting trees and shrubs was the focus of this community event in February 2020. We planted young trees along the dyke bank – oak, mountain ash, field maple and bird cherry. In the central section of the reserve we planted native shrubs such as dog rose, elder, alder buckthorn and guelder rose. These will give blossom in spring and fruits in autumn, giving pleasure to the community and food for wildlife.
Pond dipping, a bug hunt, a wildflower trail and tree bingo were all activities on offer at the Wildlife Fun Day organised by Friends of The Hook. There was a tremendous turnout, with people of all ages taking part. They were amazed to discover the range of wildlife which is flourishing on the reserve. Many thanks to everyone who took part.
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped plant five more fruit trees in the Community Orchard. This brings the total of heritage fruit trees to more than thirty. There are apple, pear, plum, medlar and damson trees. They will take a few years to fruit – something for future generations to enjoy.
As dusk fell and the special moth lights came on, there was great anticipation as to whether we would see any moths. Thanks to a warm, still evening and the expertise of Mike Hill who ran the event, we were able to see a great variety of moths. We counted at least 30 different species. Seen up close they are remarkably beautiful – with remarkable names to match!
|Some of the moths seen on the night|
Species Seen: Beautiful China Mark, Mother of Pearl, Square-spot Rustic, Large Yellow Underwing, Orange Swift, Yellow-shell, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Nutmeg, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Old Lady, Flame Shoulder, Green Carpet, Common Wainscot, Brimstone, Common Carpet, Rosy Rustic, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Snout, Spectacle, Straw Dot, Single-dotted Wave, Mint Moth, Common Purple and Gold, Silver Y, Blood-vein, Angle Shades, Bramble Shoot Moth.