The Marsh Fritillary Butterfly Project
Marsh Fritillary Workshop
Friday 4th June, 10.30am at Cloatley Meadows the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Hankerton, organised by Ellie Jones, Reserves Manager.
The workshop attracted local landowners, large and small, interested to know more about the marsh fritillary butterfly. Dr Susan Clarke, an expert in the marsh fritillary showed the group the habitat required by the marsh fritillary and suggested how land can be managed to re-establish this charismatic butterfly in the Braydon Forest! Following the tour of Cloatley Meadows the group viewed the butterflies on the leaves of the devil’s-bit scabious plant a site near Webbs Wood.
Dr Susan Clarke can offer some free-of-charge site visits to farm interested in creating habitats across the Braydon Forest. Please make contact to arrange this.
Photographs from the day by David Mitchell.
- The Great British Hedgerow Survey
On Friday 14th May we met in Purton Stoke to learn how to survey the Braydon Forest hedgerows in accordance with The Great British Hedgerow Survey requirments. Ellie Jones, Reserves Manager for the Wiltshire Wildlife guided us through the two page survey form and a 30 metre stretch of hedgerow was recorded.
Following the workshop landowners started surveying their hedgerows for example at Sundey Hill Farm. The results can be viewed here:
Many of you are keen to record what you see on your land more regularly and some of you already are. These records are vital to help us get an idea of the wildlife present so we can act to protect and improve things. Records can submitted either by emailing Jonny directly (JonathanC@wiltshirewildlife.org) or you can use the website or app called iRecord, which links directly to the Biological Records Office (we have created an activity for the Braydon Forest here
We hope to run some workshops on recording and species identification in the spring.
- Management of Woodland by the Forestry Commission
Braydon Woods Forest Plan 2018 – 2028 by the Forestry Commission, sets out plans to diversify planting and widen rides which will benefit rare butterflies and visitors. Link to pdf.
Records of curlews in 2020 suggested five breeding pairs, which although precarious suggests work to save these birds is very worthwhile. Birds were present at Blakehill well into June and were exhibiting ‘chick guarding behaivour’ which strongly suggested that they had at least hatched young. Successful breeding of one pair was confirmed with at least 2 newly fledged juvenile Curlew being seen on several occasions.
In 2021 we will continue to protect and monitor the remaining Curlew to reduce the risk of predation and help the birds to nest successfully. In addition it is hoped that work to tag and colour-ring birds will allow us to understand how birds are using the Braydon Forest and where they go when not breeding.
March update from Jonny Cooper
It is certainly starting to feel like spring and that means that in the next few weeks Curlew will be returning to the Braydon Forest. This year the Curlew Call project is planning on monitoring the breeding pairs as well as looking into how they are using the habitats in the area.
As always, your sightings are vital to help us locate pairs and monitor birds in the wider landscape. Please keep your eyes and ears peeled and let me know if you encounter any Curlew either via email or on 07876331627. Equally if there is any interest in volunteering to help monitor pairs please get in touch.
In addition to Curlew this year Wiltshire Wildlife Trust are running a countywide campaign to record breeding Lapwing. I am aware of a few sites in the Braydon Forest where Lapwing breed; so much like with the Curlew please let me know of any Lapwing you see or hear in the coming months. I am keen to try and follow up sightings to look at breeding success. I know a few of you have Lapwing breeding regularly on your land, please get in touch and we can try and arrange a visit.
Finally, it is World Curlew Day on 21st April. I am not sure exactly what we will be doing to celebrate this as part of the Curlew Call project but watch this space.