Thursday, 28 February 2013

Heather Burning 2013

Blue skies and sunshine in Langholm.. It has been glorious the last few days, and spring is stepping up a gear..  The keepering team has been out on the hill making the most of the dry spell heather burning.

Monday, 18 February 2013

A second sunny day on the moor

A few photos of the moor by Sandy Gill, showing the beautiful spring light.

 The moorland feeding station is very busy with avian visitors at the moment, good numbers of Siskins around and a few Brambling too.

12 Great Spotted Woodpeckers have now been ringed at the feed station.

National nest box week 2013

As part of national nest box week 2013, we have been replacing old/wet nest boxes and erecting lots of new ones too throughout the woodlands surrounding Langholm moor. We've been concentrating on areas of woodland around the moor with mature oak trees - the preferred habitat for pied flycatchers. We had seven successful pied fly broods in our nest boxes last year and are hoping to encourage more this year with the new boxes. The nest boxes are monitored throughout the spring and summer and the broods ringed, all the data is collected and sent to the North Solway Ringing Group who are starting a study on pied flycatchers in D&G. The nest boxes we have been erecting in the woods around langholm moor were made by students at the Langholm Academy, given an extra layer of waterproofing by project volunteer Daniel Lacey and erected by a group of young volunteers - a great example of a community coming together. The volunteers who gave up their Saturday to put up the boxes are part of a group of people who wrote and performed our Moorland Musical - 'You can't let nature run wild' at the Watson Bird festival, Langholm Walking Festival and Lockerbie Jazz Festival last year.  
The group worked with musicians Aly McCluskie and Rory McLeod, and local  poet Fiona Russell to create a moorland musical - exploring the difficult relationship between Red Grouse moors and Hen Harriers through music and poetry.
The group has been working towards their John Muir Discovery Award as part of their moorland musical work and will receive a certificate in recognition of their efforts. We are told that this is the first time a group has met the 'share' element of the John Muir Discovery Award through a medium of a musical! how's that for a first?! 
We've made the decision this year to attach the boxes using twine rather than nailing them to the trees. Using twine allows us to better waterproof the top of the boxes - with roofing felt, to help keep the boxes completely dry. Using twine is also better for the trees, using nails can  potentially create an infection site in the tree and nailing directly to the tree doesn't allow for growth / swelling of the tree, so boxes can crack or become damaged over a number of years. The twine allows a bit more 'give' - hopefully extending the life of the box. 

 We can't get a vehicle directly to the site so our intrepid volunteers carried all the boxes and equipment.. what stars!