Sunday, 22 February 2015

Planting, sowing, seeding and stuffing

Although it is a quiet time  in our own gardens it is a very busy time for the Wilder-Ness team. Meadows need a lot of  help in expressing themselves to their full potential Ground has to be cleared, soil has to be prepared and turned over.  Seed has to be purchased and scattered. 

The meadow is now being extended so the area to be covered is now considerable. The plan is to hopefully develope part of the new site as an orchard.

Too this end we desperately need a small rotary cultivator.  We would be grateful to hear from anyone who might be willing to part with one.

The outfitting of the Bee hotel is now almost completed with only a few more drilled logs required to finish.  The straw has now been replaced with the correct barley straw as this is less likely to rot and go mouldy. We hope the previously displaced vole has moved back in. 

A robin has decided the Bee Hotel is now his property  and checks on all visitors at all times and fends off rivals for this patch.

At last some sunshine and cheery Snowdrops to illuminate the grey cold days.


Friday, 30 January 2015

Mammal Trail Camera Survey

Discovering and understanding the extent of mammal species living and visiting Ness Gardens as evidenced by the Bioblitz is somewhat a hap hazard affair.  Sometimes you may accidentally see something other times not.  We know that many animals either live or visit the gardens and wilder-ness areas from the surrounding countryside but to develope, improve and maybe leave the environment  for their benefit we need to know who they are.

To this end with the help of the Friends of Ness,  the project has purchased an 'Infra Red Trail Camera'.

This specialised motion sensor infra red camera records mammal activity remotely during daylight and night time.   Most mammals come out at dusk or during the night and this unit will hopefully record and take images of their activity.

Siting is very important as mammals are very much creatures of habit and use favourite trackways in their hunt for food and mates.  At present we are experimenting with different sites in and around the wilder-ness areas with varied results.  But early indications are that once we become more experienced in  positioning some very interesting photographs will follow.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

2015 : Hedgehogs

2015 has blown itself in with a vengeance this January, despite this the temperature is very mild allowing for the odd freezing dip.  Working at Ness requires some stamina in the gales but certainly helps blow away any cobwebs left over from Christmas.  In fact it is great to get back out there.

Our first task is to install the newly purchased hedgehog homes ordered over Christmas. Over 90% of British hedgehogs have disappeared mainly the result of loss of habitat.  This is an appalling statistic that we must redress.  To start we have bought 3 shelters sponsored by The Natural Pet Centre in Heswall

Image by  Richard Steel

This aesthetic wicker dome of which there are 2 will be well camouflaged and hidden in the undergrowth undisturbed

This  home  is an observation unit so we can check on its occupation.  This will be placed away from the public areas as a research tool. It is hoped over the next few years  that we will position more of these around the gardens.  

(If anyone is interested in sponsoring a home please get intouch with a member of the Wilder-Ness  team.)

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Bright blue, crispy cold white

It is almost impossible to keep track of the weather this winter as it fluctuates almost on a daily basis.from very warm and mild peppered with freezing wind, rain and snow.  Fortunately for birds and wildlife none of it seems to last more than a couple of days.

Now is an excellent time to be watching where your feet go as much can be observed at ground level.  With so much rain water in the ground there is an abundance fungi.

Slowly but surely the Bee Hotel is being furnished with drilled dry logs and sweet smelling meadow straw. It is very heavy laborious work but will be worth the effort when completed.  In the meantime it is expected many small mammals will also move in with the bumblebees.

The project has generated considerable interest amongst our local traders and several have offered to supply needed items at trade prices to support the aims of 'Wilder-ness'
We will be adding there details at a later date.  At the moment their contact details are available in the 'Sights of Interest'  at the right-hand side of this blog.