Saturday, 15 November 2014


This week we had very welcome help from Paul Quigley of Norton Priory in the delicate business of furnishing our Bee Hotel.  Although we know what we need to do the team are having considerable difficulty with wet wood. 
Even dried out, the core of the logs are still very damp and drilling holes is almost impossible.  Paul has visited Ness and has offered us tangible help in coping with the problems.  

how many many men does it take to look into a hole

Creating links with other like minded organisations is a key aim of the Wilder-Ness project and over the next year we hope to develope this aspect considerably.


This week also saw our first 'Miniblitz'.  Tony Parker of Liverpool Museum came and laid humane traps overnight to check out the Harvest Mouse presence at Ness. These traps consist of a tunnel leading to a nest filled with bedding material and food.

The following morning the team including two very enthusiastic students from John Moores University came to check, empty and retrieve the traps.  Of 32 traps set we managed to catch 4 woodmice and one vole that bit, understandably, Tony as it was let loose.


Birds at Ness

It has been confirmed by 2 separate sightings that we can add a new bird to the Ness Biodiversity List : 
Water Rail  this bird was initially seen on the Wild Pond earlier in the year as a youngster but as Coots, Moorhens and Water Rails are all brown it was difficult to confirm.  But another independent sighting as an adult in the past week has made this a definite.

Water Rails are very quiet unassuming waders and usually stay in the undergrowth around lakes and ponds unlike Coots and Moorhens so spotting one is quite unusual.  Ness Gardens has many hidden secret species yet to be discovered.

A Kingfisher has also been added to the bird list earlier this year, again at this secluded wild pond.  

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Bioblitz Results

Bioblitz June 2014

At a recent de-brief meeting of the Bioblitz team it was revealed even though it was the first time such an event had taken place at Ness Gardens that it had been a resounding success as a survey.  50+ specialists identified 900 + speies on the single day............................ 

The information collected is submitted to National Biodiversity Network,  giving Ness a  new national presence. It is also a valuable resource available for the use of Ness in future planning and bids for funding.

The species list would have been much higher if the survey during the night before had not been hampered by torrential rain. So in combination with weather and the time of year many species where missed. It is intended to follow up with 'Miniblitz' events to fill the gaps with separate surveys for different species at appropriate times of the coming year.


During the Bioblitz Survey several new species to Cheshire were discovered including :

     Wood/Leaf Cutter Bee (Meguchille Ligniseca)

     Wasps : Gorytes Quadrifusciatus, Nysson Trimaculatus

These discoveries will be added to The new 'Cheshire Atlas of Insects' currently being compiled.

The first dedicated survey will commence this week when we will be taken on a training session on how to find and locate Harvest Mice by the Mammal Society of Cheshire.

 Other news : 1000 native British Bluebell bulbs have been purchased to be planted out (gulp) into the Spinney during the coming weeks.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Autumn Preparation

The team  decided the Bee Hotel is just the  perfect hangout  for a rest during the hard work.

Large and very large logs are being selected and cut to length before being drilled and bored with suitably sized holes.  It is important to use the correct tree logs as those that ooze resin eg pine are not suitable for use in the structure.   A sloping ramp of compacted  sandy soil is constructed at the front lower level to allow the bees to crawl into the structure.

The remaining wildflower plugs sown earlier in the year are now being planted on in selected turned areas of the wildflower meadow.  Despite all the heavy rain the ground is still  quite dry under the top level.  In other parts of the 'Wilder-Ness' areas have been taped off for special grass treatment and removal to enable the more delicate wildflowers to find room.

The seed order for 2015 has arrived and is already being planted in seed trays.  With the warm weather the seedlings are coming through already.  Please click 2015 Seed List for  full list.


If anyone would like to consider getting involved with the 'Wilder-Ness' Project next season we would be delighted to hear from you.  Please bear in mind you need to be able  to muck in with fairly physical work.

If interested please contact :