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Encouraging wildlife.

Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by Toddy, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Me too, but the mud coated it entirely, and I'm sure Scott said somewhere that those fleas don't bite humans.

    M
     
  2. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    My Grandmother used to talk about eating hedgehog; I suspect it was quite a common rural thing to do in some areas.

    We used to get several a night in summer - but then we put brick paving down where there was gravel and we get far fewer - just not such a good hunting ground for them I suspect. We have about an acre of bramble scrubland edging onto our garden area so I'm confident we've still got plenty in there :)
     
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  3. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    The question I have, how realistic were hedgehog flavoured crisps?

    Of course even back then the idea of those crisps were distasteful to many. I think they were struggling badly even back then.
     
  4. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    I think we greatly underestimate the sheer variety of things folks ate in the not so distant past.
    I know that my Dad said that as a boy in the hungry 30's they'd taken every peeweeps nest that they could find, and he regretted that there were no peepweeps around now (lapwings) but the eggs sold for a few pennies and it was both food and money when both were in really short supply. When my sons were little we went for a walk with my Dad down at Laighlands here (low lying, sometimes flooded riverside land) and a huge flock of them rose up in front of us. He looked so pleased, so happy, and relieved, he said they hadn't taken them all.
    I think a lot of folks feel the same way now about things like the hedgehogs, the otters, the pine martyns and wildcats, etc., Even the gleds are back (red kites).

    Different times, and apart from folks like us, very few care about the edibility of old foods, famine foods, forageable foods.

    He did say that it's not worth trying coot or moorhen though. He shot both, and his mother refused to cook them, saying they weren't worth eating. He was determined though, so he dealt with them and cooked them himself. He said his mum was right, and they tasted of mud.

    M
     
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  5. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    My grandfather was the foraging (poaching) supplier of my mother's family. I never heard him mention coot or moorhen so maybe he was of the same opinion. Needs must though; I daresay there was a time when they were eaten.

    Mmm... hang on, this is the 'encouraging wildlife' thread not the 'what to eat wildlife' thread :)

    When I am assessing the habitats I have for wildlife I try and make sure I am filling as much of this habitat map as possible. So, for example, between wet and dry will be various levels of 'marshyness'; between sunlight and dark there will be full shade, dappled shade etc.. Then, in the third dimension, I try to ensure there are plant habitats ranging from bare earth to mature and decaying trees. It's not possible to fill every space of the three dimensions but the greatest variety that can be achieved will attract the widest variety of flora and fauna. When I go to do some work, clearing bracken, coppicing hazel etc. I try to evaluate where that will put the area in the habitat map and whether it's a benefit or not (now or in the future).
     
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  6. Broch

    Broch Full Member

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    Oops, forgot the habitat map :)

    habitats - 25.jpg
     
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  7. Nomad64

    Nomad64 Full Member

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    The species that are usually kept for pets are African Pigmy Hedgehogs which as the name suggests are not indigenous to the UK.

    https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/other/
     
  8. Nomad64

    Nomad64 Full Member

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    For my boggy bits, I’ve planted alder and am waiting on an order of alder buckthorn which will hopefully encourage brimstone butterflies.

    https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/tr...h-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/alder-buckthorn/

    Not particularly rare and a rubbish photo but a nice sight this morning outside the back door was a pair of gold crests - UK’s smallest bird and not much bigger than a chunky moth, weighing in at 6g! :)

    AF352CF5-9E94-4331-831E-5593AFA701BD.jpeg

    https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/goldcrest/
     
  9. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

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    Back in the 70s there were a romany couple who used to travel through my village each year and against my mother's warnings to stay away I would spend many an hour round their campfire learning about nature and life on the road.
    I remember being totaly horrified when one evening a boulder of clay was fished from the fire and cracked open to reveal a cooked hedgepig. Served up with some baked potatos and strong tea.They always called them pigs not hogs.
    They ate a lot of roadkill and the old boy swore that a badger was delicious.
    Today there is a very strong smell of fox on the path into town by the pond. Must get onto the council about the pond. It's realy clogged up with silt and even has grass growing up out of the water. It's a real mess.
    Wondering when would best time of year to sort this pond out. It needs to have a lot of the mud and silt taken out . I'm wandering about hibernating wildlife such as frogs and newts. It used to be a couple of feet deep is now about 6 inches deep. The rest is now just mud. Any advice from pond experts?
    I'll try get a picture of it tomorrow so you can see.
     
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  10. Nomad64

    Nomad64 Full Member

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    No expert but the advice that I have had (and will be following) is to clear no more than 1/3 each year in mid-winter and if possible to leave the debris on the bank for a day or two so any critters can fund their way home. As ever, I am sure there are other ways of doing things! ;)

    My understanding is that adult frogs and newts hibernate under rocks, logs etc so shouldn’t be in the water although IIRC some late tadpoles may overwinter in ponds but the guidance above should minimise casualties.
     
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  11. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    There’s kind of an understanding over here that zoos are different according to whether they’re up north or down south:
    -A northern zoo will have a placard near each exhibit with the animals name, description, natural habitat and range.
    -A southern zoo will have all of that plus recipes.
     
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  12. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Probably artificial over the millenia. Might as well crop it off as sustained yield.
    That way, the remaining breeding population never gets so big that resources ( breeding and feeding) become limited.
    The bag limits in our hunting regulations are arranged like that.

    Frogs? The Leopard frogs here hibernate in the mud above the ambient water level, they get frozen in place.
    Not hard to dig up a bunch of them with a shovel in late November.
     
  13. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Woody Girl, what is the function of the pond?
    Artificial? inlet/outlet? Should not smell badly if healthy!

    I reinstated a pond ( was badly silted up) on the field we had in Sussex. Plus made a couple on another field by the house. One from a so called 'dew pond'.
    Had fish in them. Carp. I like to eat fish, and carp is beautiful if you 'de mud' it for a week.

    I was informed I needed permission from the Council to do the reinstating and creating new ones, so I did that. They were happy.

    Got lots and lots of wild animals as a bonus. The Deer were very happy. Then they ruined a fruit tree plantation I had started. Ungrateful b-stards!
    :)
     
  14. Kepis

    Kepis Bushcrafter through and through

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    Before anything can be removed, you will need to have a soil sample done to establish the levels of toxins and heavy metals in the silt, then to actually remove it if you can find somewhere that will take it, the cost per truck load is horrendous, if the pond is big enough to sustain the building of an island, you can build retaining walls with a product called Nicospan which is water permeable and put the silt inside the walls, let it drain and settle and nature will do the rest, eventually grasses and plants will grow and due to the nature of the Nicospan will even grow through it.

    To give you a rough idea of cost, we have just repaired 100m of bank that was undercut at the lakes i look after, just the installation of the Nicospan and the cost of additional materials and machinery hire alone is currently just shy of £10k, i've not yet worked out the labour costs, thankfully we dont have that bill to pay as all of the work was done by volunteers.
     
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  15. Kepis

    Kepis Bushcrafter through and through

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    Additional.

    Does the Council own the pond or is it in private ownership?, if the Council own it you might like to think about setting up a "Friends of" group", the Council generally like these type of things and once set up and running, you can apply for all sorts of grants from the Environment Agency, Natural England etc. If its in private hands, there is not really a lot you can do unless you can prove a rare type of animal or plant lives there by way of an ecological survey, then the powers who be can apply pressure on the owner .
     
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  16. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

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    The council remade the pond about 10 years ago and I've seen it on the council agenda about 9 months ago.... not that anything was done as there is no money.
    Yes I'd thought I might get a small working party together to sort it out over this winter. Will have to talk to them first though obviously.
    Then we will have to battle health and safety issues, tools and kit etc. Not my thing realy. I'm the sort that sees a job needed and gets on with it!
    I hate nanny state red tape! Still, I think it might be worth the effort.
    I'll take some photos tomorrow and then you can see what I mean. It's a very small pond and wouldn't take long to get back into shape with a few willing volunteers.
     
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  17. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Always like seeing the goldcrest and firecrest. I used to own bird books that used to say the wren is the UK's smallest bird. That used to annoy me as I knew it was wrong. I was only 5 or 6 but I knew better. Iirc my RSPB bird book repeated that erroneous statement. It was a spotter id book with a spotter notebook and pencil in a plastic cover for kids. Too many mistakes for my liking but I'd bought it before finding out.

    Btw which is the smallest, fire or gold? I was under the impression the fire was 0.1g lighter but wikipedia has gold lighter by that amount. They're very close in appearance iirc one has a bit more white somewhere. So close that I wonder how they can tell that they're a different species?
     
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  18. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

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    Well it's taken a few days to have the time and light conditions to photograph the pond I was talking about.
    What do you think needs to be done? 20191128_150458.jpg 20191128_150432.jpg 20191128_150424.jpg
     
  19. Kepis

    Kepis Bushcrafter through and through

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    The blue pipe is that inflow or outflow?, whats the water source for the pond, stream, surface runoff?

    If it were mine and assuming results of suitable studies of the pond pointed this way, id drain it and dig it out, it's a lot smaller than i had imagined, so although a lot of work, it's not as much as i had envisaged in my head, if you get in touch with your local Environment Agency office they will be able to guide you through the process and offer sound advice on soil tests etc, first job though would be environmental study to see what lurks beneath, newts, snails, invertebrates etc, once the study has been done and you know what lives there, then the EA can help you draw up a plan of action which can then be presented to the Council or acted upon by a "Friends of" group with the Councils blessings.
     
  20. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    More water. That looks like it's become a sump.

    The thing about emptying out the organic debris is that it totally fouls the water for a while, and if the organic debris is anaerobic (fallen leaf litter, layer up on layer, is a classic) then that's not rotting. It might be being slowly eaten but it's not rotting quickly enough to stop the build up. Doing as Kepis suggested is really the best way, but you can do it bit by bit, simply by making a syphon and sooking out the debris at the bottom and depositing it around the pond. That lets anything like newts have a chance to get back to the pond. It raises the bund around the pond over time though, so needs thinking about too. If they'll let you create 'compost habitat' piles, once that debris has drained, then that's not a bad thing, just cover them in seeds from something that won't become invasive but wildlife will like....so, not nettles, pendulous rush, teasels, lady's mantle, meadowsweet, willows...because even though they are native, are lovely to have, are very attractive to insects, etc., they will rapidly fill up around that wee pond.

    Our local councils have teams of gardeners/landscapers and they deal with things like that pond. Might be worth contacting your local council's Landservices and see what they suggest.

    Good on you for thinking about doing something about it though :D best of luck sorting it out.

    M
     

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