DEAN GREEN TEAM

Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire

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News

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(Click on the item below to view)

Otter sighted at Greathough Brook - December 2018

Hibernaculum at Gorsty Knoll - December 2018

Beaver chipping Christmas! - December 2018

Hibernaculum construction by Dave Dewsbury - November 2018

Annual Butterfly Surveys - October 2018

Broom Moth Caterpillar - October 2018

Beaver Activity - October 2018

Exmoor Ponies at Crabtree Hill - September 2018

The Beavers have arrived! - July 2018

Woorgreen and Crabtree Hill Nature Walk - June 2018

The Titanic Pond - April 2018

The Beaver Project - April 2018

Newt Survey at Wigpool

Rare Trees Press release

 

Otter sighted at Greathough Brook - December 2018

An otter has been seen on the wildlife cameras by the old mine culvert pipe at Greathough Brook where the beavers are - this is fantastic!

The beavers are absolutely still there and we are getting some lovely footage especially of the felled willow near the artificial lodge. Last night the female was there nibbling away in full view of the camera.Evidence of them feeding in this area can be seen, as new chippings or nibbled bits of tree appear daily and can be seen from the forest road.

A few years ago, an otter watch was regularly done at Greathough Brook but no spraint was found so this is excellent news. The otter is slim enough to get through the slats of the grilles (but not the beaver!)

 

Hibernaculum at Gorsty Knoll - December 2018

The following words are from Dave Dewsbury who lives by this site and is the Forest of Dean Amphibian and Reptile representative :-

" I would like to thank the Dean Green Team very much for coming to make our prototype reptile and amphibian hibernaculum at Milkwall. You can hardly tell it is there and when the vegetation grows up around it (as the bracken surely will!) then nobody will know. Hopefully the adders will start to use it and we will be watching closely for signs of occupation. We will have to be patient until at least next season. We will also try to establish some butterfly food plants such as birds' foot trefoil and strawberries on it. I hope we can make some more of these in other suitable adder habitat around the Forest to try and reduce possible predation by boar.

For the benefit of other readers, our hibernaculum comprises a trench about 2x1m and about 40cm deep, lined with birch logs overlaid with assorted pieces of stone up to ground level. Some small diameter birch has also been driven into the sides of the hole to mimic tree roots and these will rot down to create voids where animals can shelter in contact with the soil and out of the frost. The whole hole is covered with sheep fence laid flat to approximately 30cm beyond the sides which is then held down around the perimeter by nailing to tree stakes to try and prevent the boar from digging down to hibernating animals.


The new hibernaculum has been made alongside a site which has been used by 5 male adders up to 2013/14. Since the arrival of the boar we have been seeing fewer adders and they haven't been seen hibernating at this spot. Another factor could be the growth of the birch partially blocking the morning sun so these have been removed too. The small birch copse behind (north side) has not been changed.

Our site is likely to soon be adversely affected by an adjacent housing development which is in a pre-planning stage. I will be making suggestions about trying to reduce the impact for our reptiles(4 species), amphibians(5 species) and glow-worms. The development is already contentious because of its proximity to a large horseshoe bat winter roost but this objection has already largely been over-ruled. The area was submitted for registration as a Key Wildlife Site some years ago with 29 known 'BAP' species but this has not yet been completed.


Any suggestions for reducing the impact would be gratefully received."

 

 

Beaver chipping Christmas! - December 2018

This is the festive spirit in a photo of a couple of Christmas decorations made by a Forester's Forest volunteer from the beaver chippings taken from the Beaver Project site!

 

 

Hibernaculum construction by Dave Dewsbury - November 2018

If, like us, you had never heard about a hibernaculum before, here is the definitive answer from Dave Dewsbury. The Dean Green Team will probably be building some hibernaculam in the near future to protect the reptiles and amphibians from boar predation.

These are our future plans

 

 

Annual Butterfly Surveys - October 2018

We have the results of two of our annual butterfly surveys which also show the numbers over quite a few years. These results are from Moseley Green and from Linear Park. Various members of the team do a survey once a week during the summer. The results show how many butterflies are present and which weeks they are in abundance

Click here for Moseley Green

Click here for Linear Park

 

 

Broom Moth Caterpillar - October 2018

One of our team took this photo of a Broom Moth caterpillar which we thought was rather pretty!

Broom Moth (Ceramica pisi)

A very variable species, with the ground colour varying between greyish brown to a dark chestnut colour, and the intensity of the markings varying too. Inhabiting open woodland and heathland, it is quite common in most of Britain. It flies between May and July, and is attracted to light. The distinctive brown and yellow striped caterpillar feeds not only on broom (Cytisus scoparius), but also on bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and other trees and plants.

 

 

Beaver Activity - October 2018

The beavers really are working hard, the dams are getting bigger and there are now 4 decent sized ones and one smaller one. The water level by the artificial lodge is so deep now that we can no longer go in there in wellies! They are eating a bit of the Himalayan balsam, so maybe this will be an added bonus to their presence!


They are also happy attempting to fell some of the bigger trees

 

 

Exmoor Ponies at Crabtree Hill - September 2018

Ten Exmoor ponies have arrived at Crabtree Hill. This vast area has now been fenced and walking gates put in. We have regularly worked here as the heathland needs to be controlled to prevent the spread of wild birch and large gorse. The ponies will do some of that job for us and there will be half a dozen Highland cattle joining the ponies in a couple of weeks.

 

 

 

The Beavers have arrived! - July 2018

The Beavers have arrived! A pair of Eurasian beavers have been released at Greathough Brook in the Forest of Dean! We're thrilled to have these fantastic creatures in our woodlands again and can't wait to see what they get up to over the coming months.

The beaver project has taken 3 years to reach this stage and the Dean Green Team have been involved all this time. We have done many surveys of the existing trees and habitat as well as tree guarding any trees which the beavers could fell near to the fencing. The site is 6 acres and the team and local people will regularly be checking the fencing in the future.

 

Woorgreen and Crabtree Hill Nature Walk - June 2018

On a hot, sunny afternoon, a large group were gathered for a walk around Crabtree Hill on a guided walk by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Kevin Caster, the GWT ranger in the Forest of Dean, explained exactly why and how this area of rare heathland evolved and what is required for its future. The area of about 10 hectares is to be fenced so that Highland cattle and Exmoor ponies can forage here to keep the heathland healthy. The fencing will have access gates for the public. The Dean Green Team have spent many years regularly visiting to keep the birch from overwhelming the site and will continue to do this in the future. 

The group at the end of the afternoon.

 

Coffee, tea, cakes and refreshing cold drinks were provided as well as informative notice boards.

 

 

Woorgreen Lake water lilies are in full flower now!

 

 

The Titanic Pond - April 2018

The Titanic pond was worked on by the Dean Green Team on the 13th March   See Here

Amazingly, for the first time ever, newts have now appeared in the pond! This is a major success!

 

 

 

The Beaver Project - April 2018

The fencing at Piano Corner along Greathough Brook is starting to go up! We are expecting to have two adult beavers and two juveniles which should arrive this summer. The Dean Green Team have done many surveys of the flora and fauna over the last couple of years and will continue to do this in the future to see what effect the beavers will have on the environment.

The image below is of a barrier put across the top of the stream to prevent the beavers from leaving the area. There are three of these barriers on the stream.

 

The bottom end of the stream is really filled with water now after the recent rain and is gushing down the valley.

 

 

This is the fencing which is very professionally being erected..

 

Newt Survey at Wigpool

 

Dave Dewsbury, the County Recorder for Amphibians and Reptiles, organised a newt survey at Wigpool lake. He had put a series of his Dewsbury newt traps in the lake the night before. A good collection of adults and children came out in the morning, which was bright and fresh, to see what we could find in the various traps. These traps provide a safe way for the newts to congregate as they swim into them for refuge. There were loads of newts including all three British species - the Great Crested, Palmate and Smooth newt - and both male and female were found. The newts must be very abundant in this lake. Wigpool Lake is the only natural lake in the Forest of Dean as all the other lakes are man made.

The image below shows one of the white traps being pulled in by the children

 

There will be another survey at Woorgreen Lake on 28/29 April. Setting out the equipment from 4pm on Saturday, 28 April. Meet in the car park opposite the Arboretum at 9am. On Sunday, 29th April we will be checking the newts at a later time of 11am as part of the Forest Activities Festival. The Activities Festival will be taking place on Speech House Field from 10am. To take part in the newt survey either meet us at the Foresters' Forest stand on the field at 10:45 or in the car park opposite the Arboretum at 11.00.

 

Rare Trees Press release

 

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