DEAN GREEN TEAM

Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire

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News

(To see previous News page - up to 2011   2011 - 2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018   2019 )

 

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Ode to the Dean Green Team - March 2020

Pine Marten Survey - March 2020

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust magazine from 2004 - February 2020

Hair Ice at Greathough Brook - January 2020

Otter print found - January 2020

Beaver update - December 2019

Christmas sheep removal - December 2019

 

Ode to the Dean Green Team - March 2020

Whilst Coronavirus is causing havoc in the country our outings into the forest have been curbed. All volunteer tasks are cancelled - barriers are in place in the main car parks - walking is only permitted from home. However, we are not despondent as many of our team are noticing the emergence of butterflies in their gardens and reporting bird sightings.

One of our team members composed the following Ode to the Dean Green Team which is brilliant!

 

 

 

Pine Marten Survey - March 2020

We did a Pine Marten survey in the forest to see if we could find any scats or signs of them since twenty of them were released last year.It was astonishing that we actually saw a Pine Marten moving high up in dense conifers. Our expert was delighted with this as it was the first sighting in the Forest of Dean since the release! We walked along the trails behind the Cannop Cycle Centre where we found scat and then we walked from Speculation car park and were using the radio scanner until we had a response.

 

 

There are a few Pine Marten boxes in the forest and wildlife cameras near to them. Hopefully, they will have kits in the future.

 

 

Pine Martens are generalist predators, feeding on small rodents, birds, beetles, carrion, eggs and fungi. In autumn, berries are a staple. Pine Martens have territories that vary in size according to habitat and food availability. For males, these are about 10-25 square kilometres and for females about 5-15 square kilometres. They mark their territories with faeces (known as scats) deposited in places where they are conspicuous to other martens; they are frequently left along forestry trails.

Until the 19th Century, pine martens were found throughout much of mainland Britain, the Isle of Wight and some of the Scottish islands. Habitat fragmentation, persecution by gamekeepers and martens being killed for their fur, drastically reduced this distribution. By 1926, the main pine marten population in Britain was restricted to a small area of north-west Scotland, with small numbers in N Wales and the Lake District. They are now in Wales as well as the Forest of Dean but remain one of the rarest native mammals in Great Britain, with a total population of around 3-4,000.,

 

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust magazine from 2004 - February 2020

One of our team recently re-discovered the article below which was done in the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust 'Wildlife News' magazine for May-August 2004. This is so interesting as the interviews were taken at Tidenham Chase where we are still currently doing heathland restoration work after 16 years. The job never ends!

Luke Wilson (mentioned in the article) has moved to the other side of the River Severn so we do not see him regularly any more. However, he is still in contact and he organises our butterfly surveys in the summer.

Tony Thorne (also mentioned in the article) is STILL with us so he must be our most longest serving and consistent member of the team!

 

 

 

Hair Ice at Greathough Brook - January 2020

THIS IS A RARITY!

A couple of friends were walking round the beaver enclosure at Greathough Brook when they saw this beautiful sight and photographed it. It appears to be Hair Ice , also known as Ice Wool or Frost Beard. Hair ice is a rare type of ice formation where the presence of a particular fungus in rotting wood produces thin strands of ice which resemble hair or candy floss.

The conditions required for the formation of hair ice are extremely specific, hence the relative scarcity of sightings. To form, moist rotting wood from a broadleaf tree is required with the presence of moist air and a temperature slightly below 0 C.

In 2015 scientists determined the exact cause of the hair ice phenomenon, linking its formation to the presence of a specific fungus called Exidiopsis effusa. They discovered that the presence of the fungus led to a process called 'ice segregation'. When water present in the wood freezes it creates a barrier that traps liquid between the ice and the pores of the wood. This creates a suction force which pushes water out of the pores to the edge of the ice surface where it freezes and extends outwards. As this repeats it pushes a thin 'hair' of ice out of the wood which is around 0.01 mm in diameter. It is believed that an inhibitor present in the fungus allows the strands of ice to stabilise allowing the formation of the beautiful phenomena and allows the hair ice to keep its shape often for several hours.

 

 

Otter print found - January 2020

The paw print in the image below is of an otter and we would guess the otter was working it's way down the water course and trying to get back to the stream as it was found on the track towards the bottom of the reserve.

We have recorded otter twice now on the cameras, once by the inflow, it must have come through the inflow culvert and once by the side mine culvert. We haven't had them for some months though so this record is great. Lovely to have them around here relatively frequently.

 

 

This image was taken at the bottom of the valley and shows the beaver's latest tree with their gnawing on it. It is right by the bottom gate and its branches are against the larger tree which will stop it going over the gate. There is an obvious beaver track around this where the beavers have been exploring!

 

 

Beaver update - December 2019

The beavers have settled in together well now and there are signs of tree removal.

 

 

 

 

Christmas sheep removal - December 2019

The sheep which have been grazing in the wild flower area at Linear Park have now been taken back to their farm over Christmas. They should be back in the spring.