Monday, 23 November 2015

Rod's Film on Biodiversity

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Land Art on the Roeburn by Richard Schilling

This Autumn the River Roeburn was visited by Richard Schilling who left these wonderful sculptures
Richard's sculpture of leaves and rocks down near the quarry (photo Rod Everett)

(Photo Rod Everett)

The fast flowing Roeburn under the gorge (photo Rod Everett)

(photo Rod Everett)
Photo taken by Richard Schilling of his sculpture in the gorge several years ago

Photo by Richard Schilling of one of his sculptures several years ago

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Chris Packham on Hen Harriers

We're passionate about the plight of Hen Harriers, particularly in the Forest of Bowland,where we live. They are at dangerously low levels, close to extinction in England due to persecution. Watch here for Chris Packham's brilliant speech on Hen Harrier day:

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Hen Harrier Day

Not many people will know that the Hen Harrier is critically endangered with approximately 4 breeding pairs in England and slightly more in double figures in Scotland. To highlight the plight of this beautiful bird, many Hen Harrier days took place around the UK. The Hen Harrier is the icon for the Forest of Bowland so what better place to have an event is there than Abbeystead village hall! The day consisted of a wonderful collage of films of the Hen Harrier in action by Bryony, paintings by Janet Mary Robinson, (part proceeds going towards the event), harpist Celia with other musicians played lovely evocative music, just right for the occasion . Attending were the cycling Mayor of Lancaster Jon Barry and greetings were sent by MP Cat Smith.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Natural Beekeeping on the farm

We were very lucky to be given 2 colonies from Aaron and John, local beekeepers who practice natural beekeeping--allowing the bees to build honey combs without a rigid structure. Because of the cold, long spring they have to be fed at the moment as there is a lack of pollen and nectar.
Unpacking the nucleus after being cooped up in a box for imminent transfer....

their old home...

gently separating the frames apart with a knife.....

lifting a frame out, showing a lovely natural comb..
placing the comb into the new hive....

each comb gets gently transferred....

into the new hive....

the frames now in situ in Rod's handmade beehive...

spacing the frames..

the hole is big enough for bees but not predators...

the next nucleus being set free...

the second hive being filled with frames

the frame full of bees..

Rod's hive with lid safely placed on..

second hive with lid

last check of the operation is to insure tired bees on clothes and boxes don't get taken back in the car!!!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Goldfinches love seeds

Goldfinch on common sow thistle                              Photo courtesy Anand Prasad

Goldfinch courtesy of Anand Prasad

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Keeping Some Thistles for the Bees and Goldfinches

The camping barn field is full of plant diversity for wildlife

A species of bumble bee-Common Carder -Bee (Bombus Pascuorum)

All weeds like thistles have a value for wildlife and for repairing the soil. Different weeds bring different nutrients to the surface.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hen Harrier Day

Want to join in ? Why not check out the  Hen Harrier Day website. The day will be  highlighting the cause for concern of the decimation of the Hen Harrier--the Forest of Bowland's iconic bird of prey logo. For our area here is the link

Friday, 17 July 2015

Pipistrelle Bats Going out for Dinner

Photo by Stefan

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Tree Trunks!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Meadows in Roeburndale

It may sound obvious but 100 years ago Britain’s countryside was a very different place.
Back then it would have been awash with colourful flower-rich meadows and grasslands that were an intrinsic part of our agriculture and people’s daily lives.
The scale of the decline is breath-taking
Fast forward to today and over 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, that’s a startling 7.5 million acres (3 million hectares). Species-rich grassland now only covers a mere 1% of the UK’s land area.
And what remains is mostly scattered fragments of just a few acres and vulnerable to disappearing under the plough. The seriousness and causes of the decline has been outlined in a report by the charity Plantlife.
According to the charity’s botanical specialist, Dr Trevor Dines, all that remain are just 26,000 acres (10,500 hectares) of lowland wildflower meadow and 2,223 acres (900 hectares) of upland hay meadow in the UK.
“The scale of the decline is breath-taking,” he says.
This loss of meadows and species-rich grasslands is without parallel in the history of nature conservation in the UK according to Save Our Magnificent Meadows, a partnership project led by the charity Plantlife to promote and protect our vanishing meadows.
They also say that in the UK, more priority species for conservation are associated with grasslands than with any other habitat type.
So to celebrate these now very rare and special spaces and to raise awareness of their striking decline, the first ever National Meadows Day is being held on Saturday 4 July.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Hen Harriers

Desperate days as 5th male hen harrier ‘disappears’

A male hen harrier Another male hen harrier has ‘disappeared’ from an active nest – the 5th this year.
Three males vanished from nesting territories in Bowland in late April/early May (see here).
Another male vanished from its nesting territory on Geltsdale last week (see here).
And now the 5th – last seen on the United Utilities Estate in Bowland on 29th May (see here).
Is it shocking news? Yes, but not because we didn’t expect it. It’s shocking because the persecution of this species is so, so brazen.
It should now be clear (as if it hasn’t been for decades) that the people responsible, and the grouse-shooting industry that shields them, need to be brought to their knees.
We can all do that.
We must do that.
We will find a way to do that.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Henry in Bowland 2

Courtesy of Mark Avery's blog
Henry is pining for a ringtail. He’d heard that the Forest of Bowland was his best chance for a hot date.  ‘this one looks rather cute’ Henry told me. ‘I’m sure you’re right, Henry’, I said ‘They all look much the same to me’. Henry gave me a bit of a glare, I thought.
He came across these interesting figures in John Armitage’s blog which show that it is the United Utilities land where Hen Harriers have most often nested successfully in Bowland in the period 1981-2005 in this area. Two thirds of successful nests were on the UU land and the other third on the three sporting estates of Abbeystead, Bleasdale and Clapham.
Natural England’s excellent report (before they were muzzled, castrated and chained up), A Future for Hen Harriers in England? shows that Hen Harrier nesting success was far higher on one side of the Bowland fence, the United Utilities’ side of the fence, than it was on the other side, the grouse moor side. Isn’t nature remarkable? How can such big differences, 65 pairs raising an average of 1.96 chicks/breeding attempt on UU land, compared with a mere 18 breeding attempts, producing an average of 1.22 chicks/breeding attempt on the grouse moor side of the fence, have come to pass in the period 2002-2008?
I told Henry to be careful.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Missing Hen Harriers on Forest of Bowland

Three male hen harriers disappeared form this area. The RSPB are offering a reward for information:

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Trees on the farm

Photo Courtesy of Alan Charlton

Photo Courtesy of Alan Charlton

Photo Courtesy of Alan Charlton

Photo Courtesy of Alan Charlton

Photo Courtesy of Alan Charlton

Photo Courtesy of Alan Charlton

Photo Courtesy of Alan Charlton

Friday, 13 February 2015

Barn Owl Box

                                  We're hoping to attract a pair of barn owls to a new home
Photo courtesy of Anand Prasad
Rod's design is taking shape...
Nick's climbing skills are needed
.. the box is heavy
Now it's ready...hopefully an acceptable habitat this space!!