Monday, 27 January 2014

Name that Bird!

How well do you know your birds? Try this quiz and find out!

Name the birds from the photos below. Comment with your answers. Hint: they are all found on Wenlock Edge.

  A
  B












C












D












E











F











G
  H


  I

Monday, 20 January 2014

Ranger Update

Hello Everyone!

Lot's has been going on here on the Edge since our last update a couple of weeks ago.

Chris and I, with the help of contractor Seamus and volunteers John, John and Pete, have been working hard on the improvements to the Wenlock car park, moving the rocks and fencing around the edges of the car park in preparation for grazing the sheep. Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks Mark Farmer will be grading and stoning the new path leading to the bridleway, creating much easier access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Unfortunately the car park is a bit of a mess at the moment, but should look great when we're done.

 Chris moving the rocks with a Trust tractor.
 Seamus and I attaching the wire fencing to the posts.

Just yesterday on the Edge was a big event, the Clee Hills Trial. This is an annual classic trial by the Midlands Automobile Club, where drivers take on a selection of hilly tracks, aiming to see how far they can get up them. The higher they get the fewer points they pick up. Yesterday a whole variety of cars, including many classics such as the ones pictured below, attempted sections on Wenlock Edge including the Jenny Wind, Harley Bank, Major's Leap, Easthope and Ippikin's Rock. For more information, check out http://www.cleehillstrial.info/index.htm. These trials take place with the permission of the Trust, and the club gives a generous donation towards track maintenance on the Edge.


 And finally, I'd like to share with you this beautiful photo Chris took just this morning from Ippikin's Rock. It's absolutely stunning with the mist sitting below the ridge.


See you all next time!

P.S. We now have a Wenlock Edge Facebook page up and running at www.facebook.com/nationaltrustwenlockedge

Monday, 13 January 2014

Spy in the Wood

Ever wondered what happens in the wood when no people are about?

We've been using a camera trap, activated by a motion sensor, to record 15 second videos of the wildlife that roams Wenlock Edge woods, and we'd like to share some of the images with you all.

The commonest animal that we captured on film was Fallow Deer. Their winter coat is very dark, similar to a Roe Deer, although their summer coats show the typical spots. They are larger than the Roe Deer and have a large, dark tail over their white rump patch. The males (bucks) grow palmate antlers from three years old, which they shed every year. Fallow are a non-native species, and were introduced by the Normans for hunting. They can cause a lot of damage to crops and young trees when in large numbers; fortunately there are only small herds on Wenlock Edge.





Apart from Fallow, there are also Roe Deer and Muntjac Deer present in the wood. Roe Deer and Red Deer are the only native species of deer in the UK, while Sika Deer and Chinese Water Deer are other introduced species.

The Roe Deer is smaller than the Fallow, and is dark in colour with lighter undersides and a white rump patch covered by only a small tail. The males have pointed antlers that they shed after the rut and immediately re-grow. A video of a Roe can be seen on a previous blog post, titled Deer. Interesting fact: Bambi was originally a Roe Deer, but was changed to a US White-Tailed Deer so as to be more familiar to American audiences.

The Muntjac Deer is originally from Southeastern China, and the UK population was formed from escapees from zoos and deer parks. It is very small, only 0.5m in height, with a dog-like appearance. We have yet to capture any footage of a Muntjac deer, but we'll be sure to let you know when we do!

But it's not just deer that the camera trap captures. This video is of an animal that has a bit of a bad reputation, but we think are very cute all the same... the Fox!



Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

It's only a few days into January, but Chris and I have already been hard at work looking after the Edge. Some of you may have seen us out and about as lots of people took the opportunity over the Christmas break to enjoy the wintery woodland. Last week in particular we were out working on the Presthorpe-Hughley road with tree surgeons James and Lee, removing trees that were leaning over the road and phone-line.

We've also been cracking on with the improvement works at the Much Wenlock car park, and I've been practicing with the post-banger as you can see in the photo below. We hope to continue with this work next week.

 As a small project during my time on Wenlock Edge I've been asked to set-up some natural play areas along the Lime Kiln Walk that starts in the Presthorpe car park. This week Chris and I set-up a den-building area next to the car park itself (pictured below), with a big pile of brash to use as building material. Den-building is great fun and one of the National Trust's "50 Things to Do Before You're 11 and 3/4", so I definitely recommend giving it a try. More equipment is under construction and should be going out into the woods in the near future.


 The feeding station along the Lime Kiln Walk has been very busy recently, with lot's of birds coming to take advantage of the free food. We've even had a few more unusual species, probably due to the bad weather and the re-introduced nyger seed feeder and fat cake feeder. Some of the visitors are pictured below. Be sure to take a look at the birds as you pass by the hide!

 A cheeky robin posing for the camera.
 A Chaffinch and a Greenfinch enjoying the sunflower seeds.
 A distinctive Goldfinch making the most of the nyger seed.
 A pair of Chaffinches basking in the winter sun.
A pair of Bullfinches also enjoying the sunshine.