Survey of species at Wicksteed Park Nature Reserve
23 Jun 2011
An important part of setting up the new Wicksteed Park Nature Reserve is to understand what wildlife is already here. A number of surveys of species on the water meadow are taking place this summer. The first major survey event was funded by a Big Lottery 'Awards for All' grant and took place on Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday last week. Dr Robin Field, the Revital-ISE Project Manager, who is leading the restoration project said "we have found over 80 new species for the site so far this year and that number could easily double by the end of the year".
The Wildlife Trust is managing the site as one of their 40 Northamptonshire nature reserves, and led the plant survey on Wednesday. Heather Ball, the Wildlife Trust's Nene Valley Project Manager said "The management of the water meadows is a key part of restoring the wildlife of the Ise Valley". Other groups of species monitored included butterflies, moths, dragonflies, small mammals and birds. New species recorded this year include pepper saxifrage, beautiful hook-tip moth, heart and dart moth, sedge warbler, goldfinch, chiffchaff, long-tailed tit, whitethroat, goat's-beard and small tortoiseshell butterflies.
On Tuesday evening Robin led a group of 19 on a bat walk during which several species were encountered including common pipistrelle and noctule. The bat echolocation calls were recorded during the walk, and further analysis of this may well indicate further, rarer, species being present.
Surveys will continue during the summer and autumn and a practical restoration event will take place on Tuesday 13th September. For more information view the Wicksteed Watermeadows web page. If you would like to be involved please contact the Revital-ISE Project either by our contact form or by telephoning 01604-236764.