Nailsea Environment and Wildlife Trust

August 2021

 

A new bench has been installed a short way into the meadow near the main pathway, using grant money from National Grid. It is made from recycled plastic like the first one by the pond.

July 2021

 

It was a very exciting day for NEWT at the start of the month when licensed ringers from the Hawk and Owl Trust came to open the Owl box and see if any chicks could be ringed. To our great delight there were three healthy chicks which were gently passed down for ringing. The first one seemed to be more well grown than the other two, but Barn Owls are known to lay each egg at different times. They were completely relaxed about the whole operation and seemed not to mind at all being disturbed. It was thought they were all female and seemed healthy and well fed. The owl box was installed in 2017 and we knew it could take some years for a pair to decide to use it, but we are still astonished at the success of the first breeding pair. It is also testament to the ability of our meadow with its long grass, to provide enough food in the way of field voles, to produce three healthy Kestrels and now the three Barn Owls. The chicks fledged at the end of the month but used the box for roosting until the middle of August.

 

Our next major project will be to improve the footpath which runs below the Land Yeo embankment - between the carr and the meadow, which gets very wet and slippery over the winter. We heard this month that we have been successful in securing a grant from Wessex Water’s Community Fund for this purpose. We hope to have sufficient funds left over to put in a raised boardwalk which will enable visitors to get from the main pathway to the middle pond without getting their feet wet!

May 2021

 

Moorend Spout provided the base for the Land Yeo WaterBlitz in the middle of the month. 65 Citizen Scientists joined BART and Avon Wildlife Trust in sampling water quality across the catchment, gathering 68 samples throughout the weekend. The data will help them to target further investigations and future conservation work and help them to monitor water quality in the years to come.

 

Further information is available at BART's Land Yeo Waterblitz site with details of nutrients at BART's data map for our site and also other rivers across the Avon area.

 

The samples showed the following nutrient levels at points around the site:

 

Land Yeo River (north of the meadow):

Nitrate N-NO₃  7.5 mg/L (High Concentration)

Phosphate P-PO₄  0.075 mg/L (Medium Concentration)

 

Top pond:

Nitrate N-NO₃  0.35 mg/L (Low Concentration)

Phosphate P-PO₄  0.15 mg/L (High Concentration)

 

Lower pond:

Nitrate N-NO₃  0.35 mg/L (Low Concentration)

Phosphate P-PO₄  0.035 mg/L (Low Concentration)

 

Jacklands Rhyne, by the spout:

Nitrate N-NO₃  1.5 mg/L (Medium Concentration)

Phosphate P-PO₄  0.01 mg/L (Low Concentration)

 

March 2021

 

Kestrels have been seen soaring around between the carr and the old pine tree on the riverbank, calling to each other all the time - it seems likely to have been a courtship display. The male has been seen perching on the roof of the owl box, so we are hopefully they might nest in the reserve at some point. Barn Owls might be the long-term aim, but Kestrels are just as much in need of conservation, their numbers have fallen steeply in the last 20 years.

 

February 2021

 

The “double whammy” effect of the Coronavirus restrictions and the months of heavy rain has meant that it was not possible to hold a workday this month. We would normally be merrily scything the sedge area and making bonfires by now, but it seems that we will have to forego that annual task for this year. The trustees are extremely frustrated by this lack of activity and sorry not to be gathering together for our usual sociable work parties. We can only hope that things might allow us to re-start in March.

 

January 2021

 

We managed a New Years work morning on a cold and frosty day, with the temperature only just above freezing. 13 volunteers turned up in various stages to help with the usual winter tasks.  We split into 2 groups – one group went to the eastern boundary of the meadow to scythe the invasive reeds which would eventually go everywhere if left to their own devices, and the second group made a start on raking up the grass which was mown in the middle of December by our contractor. This was made quite difficult by the fact the lying grass had frozen into lumps and was therefore not easy to rake up.  We did the best we could in the conditions and at least, had a good workout!

 

Our annual report for 2020 is attached here.

 

June 2021

 

We are pleased that we can finally announce the successful birth of three kestrel chicks in the owl box at the eastern end of the meadow. They fledged over the weekend on 26/27 June and were seen near Tesco a week or so later. This is a spectacular success and means that there must be plenty of field voles around for them to feed on. The first photo was taken at the start of June with the later two just before they flew.

Peter Speight has sent his new drone up and around the site - take a look at his pictures on our new "Views and Videos" page.

 

A wet and cool May has left the meadow waterlogged in the middle. However, it is a mass of buttercups and the orchids are starting to flower close to the top pond.

 

We had a lovely warm and sunny summer’s day for our workday. 16 volunteers divided up to tackle a number of tasks – scything paths around the meadow so that visitors can get to the ponds, clearing the blanket weed from the top pond, building up the steps on the embankment and clearing the carr outflow area of heavy vegetation. A small Oak tree (a kind donation from some of our visitors) was planted near to the Ash tree just off the boardwalk which will have to be felled as it has definitely succumbed to the Ash dieback disease. A bucket and two nets have been provided for visitors to use for pond dipping.

November 2021

 

We were delighted to unexpectedly receive a £500 donation from Waitrose's community fund - many thanks to Waitrose for these funds.

 

Volunteers have installed a new grid pathway between the Land Yeo and the woodland, to provide a safer route in all weathers to the meadow. The grids were secured with pegs and then back filled with soil recovered from a pile of composted grass from previous scythings at the back of the carr.

 

December 2021

 

Sadly, our only Ash tree has succumbed to the prevalent Ash Dieback or Chalara disease which is characterised by a thinning crown and bright green leaves. As a result, a local tree surgeon felled the tree at the start of December. Some of the smaller branches made good firewood for our usual December workday bonfire, which was much missed last year. The larger branches have been stacked up to provide shelter for wildlife, and some large stumps have been used to make stepping stones leading to the bench.