Emerging habitats and new wildlife

We’re now well into autumn and work has started again on the Wings across the Ings project.

In September, we were delighted to have the help of Pete Wall and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust volunteers in helping to seed the new grassland on The Fleet. After Jonathan (our farmer) had prepared the ground, they sowed it ‘old-style’ by hand after which it was rolled to firm in the seed.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust volunteers sow hay-meadow seed onto The Fleet. Photo: Pete Wall

Luckily a couple of days later we had the start of the wetter weather which provided ideal conditions for germination and the field is greening up really well.

The seed has been kindly harvested from the magnificent floodplain meadows of the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve (NNR) near York. The rivers Derwent and Dearne are both part of the Humber catchment, so it will be fascinating to see what emerges. Many thanks to Craig Ralston – Natural England NNR site manager, and the Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley for their help and support.

It’s amazing how new habitats attract wildlife immediately

In addition to all the birds on The Fleet (regularly used by gulls, geese, lapwings, little egrets and grey herons), dragonflies have included broad-bodied chaser, ruddy darter and banded demoiselle and like many other places in Britain this year, painted lady butterflies have been frequent.

At Broomhill Flash, it has been a bit of a mixed breeding season for birds which may have been affected by the disturbance of the excavation works, however the mute swans successfully raised three young, as did the lesser black-backed gulls.

The lesser black-backed gull family on the west island.
Photo: Jeff Lunn

Wildfowl broods were a little below average (5 broods of tufted duck and 11 broods of gadwall but no shoveler or pochard this year, however snipe (2 drummers) and lapwings (8 territories) did well.

We’ve continued to host our events at Broomhill Flash. We were really pleased that the Sorby Natural History Society – a talented group of naturalists covering much of South Yorkshire and beyond – carried out a ‘Bioblitz’ in August where they tried to record as many species as possible on the Flash. We await their findings with great anticipation!

Let’s copy Mum! The mute swan family have a preen.
Photo: Jeff Lunn

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