SEG member Mike Pratt headed up a joint SEG/AONB work party
last week. The aim was to repair bridges used for survey work on the farm. Work progressed well until rain stopped play!
Thursday 22 October was a Suffolk Wildlife Trust/Touching the Tide event held at Stanny Field Centre.
The day started at 8.00am when Stanny Environment Group members;Mervyn Miller, Carl Powell and Mike Pratt gave a bird ringing demonstration to the twenty odd attendees. After coffee Rodney West (SEG) presented a PowerPoint presentation about bird migration in general and some of the projects which the SEG members are involved in throughout Europe.
A walk to the river wall followed with migrants such as fieldfare, redwing, green sandpiper, black-tailed godwit among others were ticked off during the walk.
Kingfisher and a pair of stonechats (habitat migrants!) where also seen. After lunch the group visited an area of saltmarsh on the farm and discussed its importance not only for wildlife but also as protection to the river walls.
The Ancient Tree Forum came to Stanny Field Centre last Saturday 17 October. The get together
was the inaugral meeting of the East Anglian branch. After a few introductory words,over
50 attendees walked across to the nearby Captain’s Wood part of which is ancient wood pasture.
Four plus hours later they all returned for a very late lunch! see more on the ATF website below;
The weekend of the 10/11 October was the second residential wader ringing course held this autumn. The first one, held in September was blessed with fine and calm weather for the two evenings of the catches. Over 120 birds were caught – these were mainly redshank plus four other species. The October course was a little windier and very dark, which probably effected the numbers caught – 96 over the two nights but of eleven species including; 21 black-tailed godwits which were also colour ringed, five jack snipe, ten teal, an adult lapwing and an avocet, two knot also were among the birds caught.
Both courses were fully booked and everyone had a great time, ate well and slept well! And over 200 birds for the two courses is a job well done!
Friday 11 September dawned as a sunny and dry day which was a relief as we had organised a visit from members of the local Alde & Ore Association. A walk around the wet grassland area of the farm was counted a success with green sandpiper, marsh harrier, hobby, black-tailed godwit, curlew among others, all seen. A superb lunch was followed by a short PowerPoint display about some of the successes on farm. the day finished around 15.00 hrs.
A sattagged Black-tailed Godwit recently arrived from Iceland, has been recorded on the mudflats in front of Stanny farm and also on the mudflat areas of the old Hazelwood Marshes. There are at least two studies working on the icelandic race of Black-tailed Godwits. We are involved in one of the projects (run by Pete Potts from Hampshire), and colour ring Blackwits at Stanny – our birds are also members of the icelandic race. Vorsabaer (the sattagged bird) was seen as a failed breeder in iceland this summer so probably moved south quite early in her annual cycle.
If you would like to know more about the project from which Vorsabaer an example, the look at the Dutch ‘King of the Meadows’ website where you can trace many of the sattagged birds. Follow the seasonal migrations of Black-tailed Godwits on: http://volg.keningfanegreide.nl/
A lot of it is in English – bless ’em
Two members of SEG spent last Thursday on a Flora Locale course at Wakehurst Place, Sussex – home of the Millenium Seed Bank. The objective of the day was to review the science and practice of collecting, the preservation and use of high quality seed samples for subsequent use elsewhere. By using some of the semi-natural habitats at Wakehurst Place, we collected seed which was then quality-assessed by participants in the Millennium Seed Bank laboratories. During the afternoon, grassland enhancement techniques and initial results were demonstrated. Seed specification, sowing rates, site preparation, seed sowing, plug planting and conservation management, including grazing, were all covered during the course.
A simple but effective way of storing seed and keeping it viable. Charcoal is placed in a plastic drum (with a well fitting lid). A tree guard is positioned in the middle of the drum, then cotton bags full of seed are hung on the tree guard. This allows the dry air to circulate the bags and keep the seeds fresh.
Two Stanny Field Centre colleagues were delegates at the Ancient Tree Forum 2015 AGM and conference, held at Mildenhall and Mundford last Thursday and Friday. Both days started with a morning of talks – all of which were of a high standard. Thursday afternoon was a visit to Aspal Close in Beck Row a Local Nature Reserve with 194 veteran trees! Friday was a visit to Wisbech St Mary and what was a derelict orchard brought back to life by hard work and dedication.
The Ancient Tree Forum raises awareness of the value of ancient and other veteran trees, and lobbies for their care and protection. It also provides advice on ancient tree management and opportunities for people to learn more about them. You will find further information at ancienttreeforum.co.uk
Stanny Field Centre has several important areas of ancient woodland or wood pasture within a few kilometres of the Centre – we will try to work towards being more involved with these interesting and unique sites.
Saturday June 13 was the first BioBlitz Day to be held at Stanny Field Centre. The evening and night were relatively warm so the moth boys had a very good sample to show the public first thing Saturday morning. The bird ringing team also produced eight or nine species including a marsh warbler, which was a new tick for the farm.
After breakfast a 2km walk took people through various habitats on the farm and where experts could explain to people the various plants and fauna they came across. Stanny Field Centre would like to thank all the experts who came for the day and gave their time and expertise freely.
Thank you to; Graham Peck, botany; Dale Peck, geology; Kelly Jacobs, mammals; Colin Lucas and Tricia Taylor, beetles and friends; Christopher Hitch, lichens; Mervyn Miller, birds& butterflies; Mike Pratt, birds; Carl Powell, birds; Clive Moore, moths & butterflies and Matthew Deans, moths.