‘Triffic Tripits

The one about listening for Turtle Doves but finding Tree Pipits instead…


30 Days Wild day 25

Yesterday I was up with the lark and the tree pipit to conduct a follow up bird survey in Dalby Forest. My first visit was in late May. As then , I made arrangement to camp at  Ellerburn campsite with a three thirty am alarm call and hike up to the Pexton Moor entrance toll of Dalby, for this was my allocated 1km square.

I am one of about thirty volunteer bird surveyors contributing to a new conservation project for Turtle Doves, an iconic summer visitor to Britain which is an increasingly rare sight and sound. You will no doubt hear more about this project if you follow the conservation blog of the North York Moors National Park, (link here) which is hosting the project officer and has received Heritage Lottery funding for the scheme.

You may also like to read my blog on Connecting for Nature, introducing the ‘Two Turtle Doves’ project, when funding was confirmed recently, but in this post I am sharing some photos from my early morning explorations. I have to say I generally head into Dalby Forest on the toll road without pausing at the Pexton Moor area, near the entrance, so it was a joy to discover that there is such interesting nature to see even before you enter the forest proper.

Briefly, the purpose of my visit was to listen specifically for purring Turtle Doves, as part of a wider survey of randomised OS grid squares across the forest. There were some patches of suitable habitat for the bird but by no means was it guaranteed to encounter any. Fortunately the survey also asked for tallies of some additional species of conservation concern, and I was able to confirm not one but two Tree Pipit territories meet in my square, in an eminently suitable ‘tripit’ habitat east of the entrance toll. The males have a distinctive song, usually delivered from a lofty perch in otherwise open forest clearings. I was really pleased with this record, as until a few years ago I had never seen or heard Tree Pipits, so these self-found birds are extra special. And they go on my survey return. No Turtle Doves in this square, this time….but perhaps the Turtle Dove Project will help the existing breeding population elsewhere in North Yorkshire’s forests to expand. I hope you hear more about the project in the media soon and follow its progress.

Counting down to the orchid count

The one about the imminent orchid survey opportunity…

Next Monday and Tuesday I will be helping out with a count of orchid flower spikes on a coastal slope above North Bay Scarborough. Yesterday I helped our officianado of orchids to mark out the eighty-nine transects which have been counted every year since the mid nineties. This involved marking with twine the top fence, to coincide with the numbered marks painted on the fence posts at the lower side of the slope.

You can read a previous #30dayswild post on this blog with more about the survey, when I did recce. Also, last year I wrote up about our count in a blog post for Connecting forNature, our local biodiversity partnership. You can find that here:


Also, you are not too late to join in, if you are free next Monday 26th or Tues 27th June, please see here for details:



Summer Fair

The one about my sparkling elderflower stand, with a digression on volunteering commitments…

#30DaysWild #Day11

On Sunday my main pre-occupation was getting ready for and helping to run a stall  at the village’s now annual summer fair. The stall was for Stamford Bridge in Bloom (SBIB) community group and the fair was held for a second consecutive year on the linear green space of the former railway station at Stamford Bridge in East Yorkshire, through which Sustrans Route 66 now runs.

I began my involvement with the Bloom group some eight years ago, appointing myself Conservation Coordinator, a role for which I saw a niche that I could fill by setting up a Junior wing of the group, The Young Conservers Club to encourage more families and young people to get involved in the movement. In the early days I gave a lot of energy and time to developing this, with work parties almost monthly, creating a minibeast trail in a forlorn corner of woodland, building links with the Primary School, Scouts and Guides, etc. Soon enough I was asked to become Vice Chair as well, which I consented to provided the conservation mission remained my primary contribution.

Well time passed and latterly, following the retirement of our Chairman and founder member, I found myself Acting Chair and figurehead for the group. Furthermore, my  full-time work and family commitments mean that the practical conservation tasks have fallen largely by the wayside, in favour of helping to manage the SBIB group’s capital projects inspired by the heritage of Stamford Bridge (such as the Battle of 1066 and the former railway line and station – more of this another time).

But I digress – So much for telling you of our Summer Fair fundraising stall…which the images accompanying this post illustrate.

The elderflower cordial, as readers of this blog will no doubt have twigged, is a batch of my own making. 🙂 I chose to serve it by the cup, diluted with sparkling water and ice, kindly donated by our local Coop. I am pleased to say it went down rather well.

The other elements of our stall consisted of plant sales, all raised, propagated and donated by our supporters, a confectionary lucky dip for kids, craft items, a cakes table and a raffle of prizes donated by local businesses. As the theme of Alice in Wonderland had been adopted by the summer fair organisers, our nod to the theme was the ‘Eat me’, ‘Drink me’, ‘Buy me’ labels tagged onto our homemade, homegrown, handmade items.

So was this a 30 Days Wild day? Well, if spending the day out of doors from 10 til 4 enjoying a green space at the heart of our community, sipping floral cordial and enjoying the notes of the Song Thrush and Chiffchaff in lulls between live music counts, then I think I’ve earned the T-shirt, so to speak.

Oh, and by the way we raised £234 toward the bloom group’s next projects.