Net ride management 2017/18

Thursday, March 22nd 2018

Net rides again folks! 

Over the last few volunteer days we finished tidying up net ride 34 and proceeded to cut net ride 38; today was all about tidying up our mess from yesterday.

It's essential that we take the time to periodically tidy up the net rides. If left they cease to function in the way in which they are intended to, with birds skirting over the top of the mist nets and evading capture.

Bringing down the height of the surrounding vegetation reduces the chance of this happening and enables the bird ringers to do their thing.

Changes between years in the totals of adults captured provide an index of population change at the study sites. Information on post-fledging productivity is provided by the ratio of juveniles to adults captured in the late season; while between-year retraps provide information on survival.

As most sites will be in specified habitats, relationships between habitat and population changes can also be investigated. 

Net ride 38 is easily missed, being hidden away adjacent to the heath; and yet as part of the Constant Effort Site (CES) Scheme it is an integral part of our current phase of net ride management (click here for more information about the CES Scheme). 

The vegetation adjacent to the net ride is pollarded (cut) on either side to a depth of 2 meters and at the approximate height of a mist net pole. 

Excess brash is burnt with suitable timber being left as habitat and often added to habitat piles created at the time of the last net ride cut.

We are now fast approaching the end of the month and the end of this year's window for net ride management. In the coming months we will begin putting together a mangement plan that will include directives for managing the net rides on a rotational basis.

And here it is, the plan which we have been working to over the last few months (and which I have blabbed on about). Those highlighted in blue are those CES scheme rides which we will now leave until next year (due to them not being of pressing concern).

We've completed all of those highlighted in green this year, which includes all other CES scheme rides (except number 38 which is highlighted in red and will be finished presently), along with the two non CES scheme rides at 18 and 19.

Leave a Comment (0)

Back to Top

Officially Spring!

Wednesday, March 21st 2018

Not only is it the Met Office spring, it is also the spring equinox spring!  So before setting out for our walk we wrapped up well with hats, scarves and gloves and wellies!  We crunched across some ice and marvelled at the ice covering some parts of the ponds.  But to cheer us on our way, there was blue sky and the sun was out!  In the centre of the reserve we were sheltered from the brisk, cold, very, west wind.  Out on the moor it was a different matter.

We were looking for flowers.  Primroses and a Barren Strawberry flower had withstood their snow cover well.  Daisies in the sunshine were open.  Although we searched and searched our flower list did not grow much longer.  We did debate whether we should count every Gorse bush in flower.   But perseverance paid off and we found the male flowers of Larch and a Goat Willow tree with its buds well burst.

Goat Willow

The lake was busy with plenty of Mallard and Moorhen.  Greylag Geese were flying over, heading to the wetland.

The lake

Birds were feeding well in the back garden.  Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Dunnock, Long-tailed Tits and Chaffinch were all to be seen.  Then a surprise, a Blackbird was feeding from the feeders.  The photograph, taken through the window is not very good but you can definitely see that it is a Blackbird on the feeder!

Blackbird on Feeder

By the time we left the clouds had gathered but there was just a hint of brightness.

A hint of brightness

Leave a Comment (0)

Back to Top

Tree Thinning Completed

Tuesday, March 20th 2018

Work on thinning one area of young woodland has been completed today with four volunteers working to reduce the competition from Birch, Bramble and Gorse to allow the trees planted in this area to get ahead.  We also had Colin in to top up the bird feeders around the Field Centre garden and the ones located near to the hides by the Lake and Wetland.

Accompanied occasionally by the calls of both Mallard and Greylag Geese that were flying by, the thinning involved selecting the best examples from the young growth of Alder, Hawthorn and some of the Birch and Willow, while making sure that there is enough light and room for the Oak, Rowan and Blackthorn in this area to develop further to provide future woodland habitat.

Several of the planted trees are in tree tubes and over half of these had broken stakes which were replaced.  One tree had outgrown its tube, splitting it at the top of the tube.  This could cause further damage to the tree with the sharp edge of the collar of the tube rubbing into the bark so the tube was removed and a new stake and tree tie fitted.  We were joined for part of the morning by the regular group from the Dales School who visit the Reserve on Tuesdays, who helped move the cuttings to the bonfire.

Thanks to the small group of volunteers who finished this task today, which will make a considerable difference to this area of woodland in the future.


Leave a Comment (0)

Back to Top

The Effects of Snow and Ice

Monday, March 19th 2018

The second spell of cold weather is now gradually passing, the thin layer of snow is melting and things are warming up.  Lark and Taurus both seemed pleased to feel the warmth of the sunshine this morning as they were given some hay.  The effect of the freezing weather has held back some growth but has also created a couple of jobs to do to make sure that the flow of water through the Reserve is maintained.

There are several ponds which are fed from larger becks that flow through the Reserve.  The best way of doing this is to dam the watercourse and use pipes to feed the ponds.  In one case the pond is still being fed as the water held behind the dam remains at the height of the wood, but the effect of the frost has been to prize the timber apart so that the water no longer flows over the top of the dam but through it.

A larger dam that shows the full effect of the weight of water from recent rain and meltwater is in Risedale Beck and a blog back in October featured a group of volunteers rebuilding part of this.  Last week water was at least 30 centimetres above the dam but that has been enough to dislodge the stones in the middle of it.  The feeder pipe is still functioning and we can use this as a good opportunity to remove the silt and stones that have built up around the lower half of the pipe.


One quick job this afternoon has been to give some of the smaller Larch trees some care and attention.  They have been given new rubber tree ties which reduce the pressure put on the tree and which can be adjusted as the tree grows.  Replacing these ties was all done under the watchful gaze of a Roe Buck who continued to browse around 50 metres away while the work took place. 

We had a problem receiving emails at the end of last week which thankfully was resolved over the weekend, and we'd like to thank everyone for their patience during this period before we regained connection to the wider world.

Leave a Comment (0)

Back to Top

Birds with a Twist

Sunday, March 18th 2018

Last week I mentioned going shopping for our fund raising over Easter.  I can now give more details.  There are three owls that need a name.  Grumpy Wise Owl with hat and scarf, Mischievous Owl with big eyes and Sleepy Little Owl.  There will be a list of names for each owl and for a £1 you can choose a name.  The winning names will be announced after the holidays.


Also mentioned last week was the nest box season.  There is still time to Adopt-a-Box for this breeding season.  There are details about the scheme on the Support Us page on the web site or in a leaflet available in the Field Centre.  A display about the nest boxes will be on show in the Field Centre from Wednesday, along with Guess the Name of the Owl.

There are various boxes available for different species.  Some birds like to make alterations to make the box just right for them.  A Nuthatch has made the hole smaller by adding mud to the opening.

Nest Box with adaptation

Blue Tits often use the boxes,

Blue Tit

as do Coal Tits.

Coal Tit

And another one of my wandering thoughts when I looked at these photos, taken by a drone flying high over the reserve, was that some of our birds must also have this bird's eye view.  This is the Stone Circle on the far moor, in summer!

The Stone Circle

The wetland can really be appreciated when seen from above.


Leave a Comment (0)

Back to Top


Sitemap | Accessibility Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions |