The elusive Wood Warbler and Cuckoo were heard calling during a guided walk in the Plym Valley’s Dewerstone Wood. Both species are red listed and have travelled huge distances; 1,875 miles from Africa. (Photographs taken by Nigel Climpson)
Leigham Primary School visited Plym bridge woods last week to see what nocturnal animals they could find.
Following a talk in school by the ranger, the children began their day by tracking a trail of clues left by nocturnal animals. The animals had been busy during the night leaving tracks and droppings which the children identified using their key of animal prints and facts they had learnt in school.
As well as listening out for the sounds of owls, the children also had the opportunity to look at badger, fox and hedgehog skulls and investigate the results of a night’s moth trapping.
In the afternoon they had a chance to become a moth in a preditor prey game before visiting the Peregrines and a spot of bird watching.
Back at school the year 2 children will be reporting on their findings as part of their Literacy and Science curriculum.
This year the bluebells, wild garlic, hawthorn and wood anemone are flowering together at Plymbridge Woods, providing us with a breathtaking array of scent and colour.
The aromatic properties of bluebells and wild garlic are used by animals such as badgers; they collect the leaves at this time of the year to line their setts. It is thought the greenery deters insects such as mites from infesting their vulnerable young.
Britain holds more than half of the world’s population of bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and the majority are found in broadleaved woodland or scrub.
Over a hundred children descended on Plymbridge Woods to take part in the National Trust’s annual Easter Egg Hunt. This year the trail was set along the old canal tow-path and the finish was at Carpenter’s Meadow. After the children completed the trail and collected their Cadbury’s chocolate egg, we had lots of activities for them to enjoy.
Easter Bonnet making (pictured) proved very popular; as did the Bumble-bee game, created by Plym Valley’s volunteers.
The event was combined with the Plym Valley Peregrine project’s 10th birthday celebrations. At the peregrine stall, children made bird-feeders using empty milk bottles and we had to bring in an additional bag of bottles to meet the high demand! Plym Valley’s bird expert, John Randall, led some free guided walks and the viaduct received over 500 visitors, all keen for a glimpse of a peregrine through one of the project’s telescopes.
The Herald took an interest in the event, their article can be read here.
Well done to all the volunteers and staff who made the day such a success!
Plym Valley has gained two new Long Term Volunteers to assist with the day to day running of the estate. Lucy Tozer and Jonathan Noades have now settled in to the volunteer accommodation at Miners’ Cottage.
Lucy is working alongside Steph Rodgers as a Community Engagement Assistant. She is new to the area, having moved from the south coast of Cornwall, where she volunteered with the local National Trust, Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Seal Group and the RSPB. Education and engagement is Lucy’s main interest and she is keen to discover the abundant wildlife that can be found in Plymbridge Woods and the Upper Plym.
Jonathan is assisting Plym Valley Ranger Peter Davies with the upkeep and preservation of this naturally diverse estate. Having recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Plymouth, he is already familiar with the area. Jonathan has taken a dedicated interest in the vast array of archaeological artefacts around the Dewerstone area and on the Upper Plym. He looks forward to working on preserving such treasures, as well as undertaking a variety of tasks, to conserve the natural vitality of the landscape.
If you see either of them, please do not hesitate to stop and say hello.