Update from the Reserve – August 2021
Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 31st August 2021
How is it August already? The Reserve is keeping us busy as always, treating us to new discoveries and plenty of laughs. It seems as though the sun is inspiring all of the animals to come out, with plenty of new faces (and species) being spotted around the Reserve. Read on to find out what we have been up to this month!
Busy Bees Around the Reserve
The hive check is always a highlight for us (not just because we get spoiled with our fabulous honey) but this time we had something a bit different… Davies Miner Bees. Davies Miner Bees are another new find on the Reserve! There are about 100 species of mining bee in Britain, most resemble honey bees, but are smaller in size. These bees are good pollinators of economically important plants such as fruit trees.
These bees generally nest in the ground, often in paths or lawns, and some of the lawn nesting species nest communally. The entrance to their burrows are often marked by a small mound of excavated soil. Their burrows can be 60 cm deep. The clump of pollen takes the mother bee 6 – 7 journeys to gather, and each load is around half her body weight. Once the pollen clump is the right size she lays an egg on it.
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Battle of the Buzzard
You may be familiar with our resident food thief – the aptly named Braveheart the Buzzard. Well Braveheart moved onto his toughest opponent yet – Hope. Hope’s gourmet mice were proving just too good to resist and seemed to be well worth risking every feather for, he even ventured inside the cat den to retrieve his meal.
Becoming frustrated with our recurring diner, Stewart set out to outsmart Braveheart. He tried hiding the food in cat traps, only for him to pull the food through the bars on the side. We nearly had him with the incubation cube, but he worked out the door and was spotted walking out post meal as cool as a cucumber.
Finally, we had one last trick left up our sleeves as we left the gate very slightly open. At last a solution that worked! The cats are able to slink through the opening but it leaves the greedy buzzard stumped on the other side!
Buzzard 0 : Wildcat 1!
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Bat to the Rescue
his month we rescued this lovely common pipistrelle- our smallest and the most common type of bat. We took this little one in for a short spell after it was found looking a bit under the weather. We love when we get a chance to spot these intelligent creatures and our bat detection walks have been providing a great opportunity to tune into the different species that have been calling our Reserve (and bat boxes) home! Our detector tells us we currently have: Daubenton’s bat, Natterer’s bat, Common pipistrelle, Soprano pipistrelle and Brown long-eared bats at the Reserve.
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Spot the Difference
Thanks to all of your support, our conservation work has started to really make a difference for wildlife, as illustrated by our ever growing species list! It is now at the point where our spotting board is now rather out of date. This board breaks down the different species that are ‘commonly seen’, ‘occasionally seen’ and ‘rarely seen’ around the Reserve. So with the help of our new Ecologist we have now designed a new, more accurate one.
Clip of the Month: Pine Marten Spotlight
It’s lovely to be getting so much day time footage of our lovely pine martens!
Pine martens are elusive animals, found primarily in the north of Britain. Mostly chestnut-brown in colour, pine martens have a characteristic pale yellow ‘bib’ on their chin and throat, and a long bushy tail.
They are fantastic climbers that prefer to live in woodlands where they live in holes in trees, old squirrel dreys or old birds’ nests. They feed on small rodents, birds, eggs, insects and fruit, and although rare, can be encouraged to visit bird tables. In the spring, they have litters of 3-5 young, which are independent by summer.
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