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Posts Tagged ‘natural history’

Dave Sharpe holds up a moth specimen at the Butterflies and Moths identification course 2010Our second BTCV – Trent Vale course took place on Wednesday 4 August training participants in moth and butterfly identification. The course was held at the RSPB Langford Lowfields reserve and was led by the Assistant Reserves Officer, Jenny.

Participants first examined the previous nights’ catch – over 20 moths that had been collected in traps placed throughout the surrounding reedbeds. Later on, a swift wrist technique was perfected catching butterflies in airy nets around the reserve.

With Jenny’s expert help, several species were identified including the variable Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) whose larvae feed on grasses, and the elusive Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) which is a specialist of chalk grasslands in the south of England but has extended its range northwards in recent years.

This course is just one of a series of monthly NCFE accredited FREE courses that Trent Vale is offering. Do you fancy coming along to the next one?

Its on Wednesday 15 September 10am to 4pm and is an ‘Introduction to Grassland Management’ at Trent Port, Marton. Parking is available at the end of Trent Port Road, DN21 5AL. For more info or to book a place contact: Gill Wilde, Training Coordinator, East Midlands, BTCV, Conservation Training Centre, Chestnut Grove, Burton Joyce, NG14 5DZ, Tel: 0115 931 3316, email g.wilde@btcv.org.uk.

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Male marsh harrier at Langford Lowfields. Photo: Nick Martin, RSPB.A pair of Marsh harriers are now breeding on the RSPB Langford Lowfields reserve in the Trent Vale. The reserve, just north of Newark on Trent, is home to the most extensive area of reedbed in the East Midlands and now to Nottinghamshire’s first breeding pair of marsh harriers too!

The reserve is still connected to a working gravel quarry, but is in the process of being restored. The RSPB’s programme is creating a range of habitats including woodland, a wader scrape and dry grassland. But the highlight of the reserve is its 30 hectares of newly created reedbed, much of which has been planted by volunteers.

The RSPB is increasing the area of reedbed habitat, helping to attract priority species such as otters and water voles. The reserve also provides a link with the neighbouring Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserves of Besthorpe and Girton, creating corridors for wildlife and a combined substantial reed habitat in one area.

The reserve at Langford Lowfields has already had an impact on wildlife, attracting other exciting bird species such as bitterns, little egrets, wood sandpipers, bearded tits, lapwings, redshanks and snipe. The reserve will eventually be open to the public, but at the moment it can only be visited by appointment or through guided walks or volunteering.

If you are interested in seeing the Langford Lowfields marsh harriers, go along to one of their fantastic guided walks. Booking essential. Please contact Paul Bennett on 01636 893611 or email paul.bennett@rspb.org.uk.

Dates for the walks are:
Sunday 18 July
Sunday 8 August
Sunday 15 August
Sunday 29 August

Time: 2pm to 4pm. Price: £2 per adult, £1 per child. Stout footwear with a good grip is recommended. Sorry, no dogs.

Visit the Langford Lowfields website.

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Around 60 people came along to the Marton heritage day on Saturday 29 May at Marton village hall. The finds from the archaeological field walking event which took place in April were on display, along with previous finds from the same site. The site is a Roman roadside settlement, and artefacts included Roman pottery of several different types, from expensive table-ware to storage jars, roof tile, coins, brooches, and cosmetic equipment.

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Sunday 11 April 2010 saw the beginning of the Community Heritage Project in Marton with Lincolnshire County Council. A total of 26 volunteers turned up to have a go at archaeological field walking and metal detecting on a known Roman roadside settlement. Thankfully the weather held out and lots of different types of Roman pottery, roof tiles, coins, and even a prehistoric struck flint were collected. Everyone worked hard and contributed to a successful day.

Sorting artefacts found on the Marton field walk dayThe finds will be sorted and analysed, and the results will be presented to the community on 29 May 2010 in Marton Village Hall from 11am onwards. In November we are hoping to hold an archaeological excavation in Marton on the Roman settlement, in which volunteers from the community are invited to take part. No experience is necessary, as training and supervision will be provided.

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As part of our community grants scheme, a total of £9,662.00 has so far been awarded to a range of exciting Trent Vale community projects:

  • £1,900 to Gainsborough Heritage and Tourism Group towards the installation of a specially-commissioned piece of artwork illustrating the local birdlife of the Trent Vale. This artwork will be installed as part of the Gainsborough Town Centre Improvement Plan.
  • Up to £2,000 to Marton and Gate Burton Parish Council towards an all weather information board promoting walks around the parishes.
  • Up to £2,000 to Knaith and Marton Community Gardening Scheme to develop community garden plots under a land-share scheme.
  • £1,812 to Norwell CE School for a series of workshops about the local tradition of willow growing and utilisation. The final stage will be the construction of a willow dome in the school grounds.

    TVLP community grant funding is increasing the number of barn owl boxes in the Trent Vale. Photograph courtesy of Andrew Parsons

    TVLP community grant funding is increasing the number of barn owl boxes in the Trent Vale. Photograph courtesy of Andrew Parsons

  • 1,950 to the Barn Owl Species Recovery Project to increase the number of barn owl nesting boxes in the Trent Vale and to support annual monitoring and maintenance.

We are also working with local farmers in the Trent Vale to fund and support projects that enhance habitats and encourage biodiversity. To find out more about our community grants contact helen.keating@britishwaterways.co.uk.

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