Neil Hulme

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:29 pm

Hi David
If all goes well, I'll be making an announcement during the Pearl-bordered Fritillary flight season.
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:59 pm

Outstanding Volunteers

Although I couldn't make it to the BC national AGM this year, I was delighted that BC Sussex volunteers Theresa Turner and Gary Norman (UKB's Gary.N) picked up Outstanding Volunteer Awards, along with other worthy recipients. They have played a vital role in my Fritillaries for the Future project, by repeatedly overcoming difficulties in the captive-breeding of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, for re-introduction to the BC Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves, and FC Abbot's Wood. I very much doubt that anyone, other than those very close to the project, will fully appreciate just how many hours and how much dedication this has involved. Their contribution has been immense. I'm sure that all UKB and BC members, and anyone else who loves butterflies, will join me in saying a huge "thank you" to them.

Image of Gary and Theresa with Dr Jim Asher, by Nigel Symington.

FFTF Theresa and Gary (image Nigel Symington).jpg

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:18 pm

Timber!

Many thanks to everyone who came along to the BC reserves in Sussex today (12 November), to help continue the major restructuring work. Two of us brushcut a large area of Bracken on Park Corner Heath, while the rest of the team beavered away cutting new SPBF habitat in Rowland Wood. Volunteers today came from as far afield as Australia (a new BC Sussex record). Having missed the BC national AGM on Saturday, this was an opportunity to pass my own thanks and congratulations to Theresa and Gary, who picked up richly deserved Outstanding Volunteer Awards.

We also took the opportunity to have a look at the excellent progress made with heavy forestry work by our contractor, Ian Hampshire. There's a lot of wood coming out, and a lot of light going in!

FFTF Rowland Wood work party (1) 12.11.17.jpg
FFTF Rowland Wood extraction 12.11.17.jpg

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:40 pm

More great exposure for your conservation work, Neil, as well as for some of the volunteers!

I don't think I can wait for your big announcement though. If I make a donation can I know it in advance? :)

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:18 pm

Hi David
I'd love to spill the beans, but until all consents and permissions are obtained, it remains a plan. Fingers crossed!
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:23 pm

Cowdray Estate

Huge thanks to South Downs National Park Authority staff and the Volunteer Ranger Service for their help improving and expanding Pearl-bordered Fritillary habitat on the Cowdray Estate yesterday (14 November). Bracken was brushcut, chestnut was coppiced, lying brash was lifted and burned, and conifers were pruned to allow more sunlight into woodland edges. One area, kindly cut by the ever-helpful estate last winter, is so rich in violets that they have formed the most extensive carpets I've ever seen - it's now up to the butterflies to do their stuff and show their appreciation.

FFTF SDVRS at Cowdray Estate wood 14.11.17.jpg
FFTF Violet carpet, Cowdray Wood 14.11.17.jpg
FFTF Brushcut area, Cowdray Wood 14.11.17.jpg
FFTF Brashing up along a ride margin, Cowdray Wood 14.11.17.jpg

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:10 pm

Neil Hulme wrote:
Hi David
I'd love to spill the beans, but until all consents and permissions are obtained, it remains a plan. Fingers crossed!


I understand, Neil.

My donation will be forthcoming nonetheless.....as soon as we know what it's for! :D

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:53 am

Coppicing Continues

Thanks, as always, to the trusty South Downs National Park Authority staff and Volunteer Ranger Service, and BC volunteer Paul Day, for their efforts at recent work parties. On Thursday (16 November) a group of nine continued coppicing Hazel at Church Copse (Clapham), to create a new home for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. A different group were out the following day, cutting Sweet Chestnut at Rewell Wood.

FFTF Church Copse work party (1) 16.11.17.jpg
FFTF Rewell Work Party 17.11.17.jpg

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:38 pm

... And Even More Coppicing

Today (21 November), and yesterday, I joined Chris Letchford of the National Coppice Federation http://www.ncfed.org.uk Sussex and Surrey Group http://www.coppicegroup.wordpress.com and our industrious helper, James, in cutting the second Hazel coppice coupe in a new cycle on the Angmering Park Estate.

The Pearl-bordered Fritillary habitat produced by last year's cut is exceptionally good, so we are optimistic that this species will naturally colonise the site from Rewell Wood, hopefully within the next few years. Cutting coppice is a hugely satisfying hobby and a great way to keep fit. For those, like me, who are prone to SAD, it is the best possible medicine.

Every other Thursday (next 30 November) there is the opportunity to join a coppice cutting party at Church Copse, Clapham (details will appear on the BC Sussex website).

FFTF Angmering Park Estate (2) 21.11.17.jpg
FFTF Angmering Park Estate (3) 21.11.17.jpg

FFTF Angmering Park Estate (1) 21.11.17.jpg

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:00 am

Reshaping Rowland

Many thanks to Trevor Rapley and Doug Neve for helping out at Rowland Wood yesterday (22 November). In addition to dragging and burning-up brash, their presence meant that I could set to work with the chainsaw. We worked on a particularly damp and environmentally sensitive ride (where SPBF bred in 2011), from which we would prefer to exclude heavy machinery. We managed to fell almost all of the target trees, allowing much more light in and creating ideal habitat for the new SPBF population.

Our contractor, Ian Hampshire, is making great progress elsewhere in the wood; harvesting conifer blocks, widening some existing rides and creating some every impressive new ones. The aftermath of heavy forestry work always looks brutal, but Ian's work is exceptionally neat and tidy, and once each area has been tidied up, it will recover very rapidly.

FFTF Rowland Works (2) 22.11.17.jpg
FFTF Rowland Works (1) 22.11.17.jpg
FFTF Rowland Works (3) 22.11.17.jpg
FFTF Rowland Works (4) 22.11.17.jpg

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:02 pm

That looks like choice habitat in the making, Neil, and good that UKB members are helping out!

Fingers crossed that the target species will respond.

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Jack Harrison » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:29 am

Even though I can't appreciate the results myself, it's lovely to read about how conservation (for butterflies) should be carried out.

Thanks Neil. You deserved that last "gong" for all you efforts and maybe will get a few more in the future.
Q. Do you have to wear it round your neck when on these work parties? :evil:

Jack

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:24 pm

Thanks, David. I'll provide another update at the end of this week, as the contractor will have finished and another volunteer work party will have taken place.

Thanks, Jack. No, but I'll wear it in the bath, and if ever stopped for speeding.

BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:49 pm

Sleepyhead

On Saturday (25 November) I paid a brief visit to Rewell Wood, to look at recent habitat work for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, and to see the Hawfinches which are overwintering here in exceptionally high numbers. Despite the earlier frost, I, like many others, continue to encounter significant numbers of Red Admiral, with a total of five seen, including a courting couple.

I then met up with the owners of a part of nearby Binsted Wood, which would disappear under tarmac if the A27 Arundel bypass Option 3 were ever to be built. I was there, along with another couple of licence-holders, to conduct a Hazel Dormouse survey. It would appear that many dormice are still active, as numerous freshly-made nests were unoccupied, although one was being 'squatted' by a Pygmy Shrew. In the end we got lucky, but despite being weighed and closely examined, to determine sex, he continued to snore through the entire process.

Dormouse, Noor Wood 25.11.17 (Neil Hulme).jpg

essexbuzzard
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby essexbuzzard » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:55 pm

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: . That's all.

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Jack Harrison » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:53 pm

That Dormouse photo ought to enough to kill off any prospects for Option 3.

Jack

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:04 am

More Rowland Rumblings

Yesterday (28 November), the fabulous Brighton Conservation Volunteers returned to help with restructuring work in Rowland Wood, with BC volunteers Trevor Rapley and Dave Cook swelling our numbers. This was the second of four BCV visits planned for winter 17/18 and their contribution is proving vital in laying the foundations for what I'm certain will be a very bright future for the BC reserves in Sussex.

This highly effective army completed the clearance of the wet ride most favoured by Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, prior to its regional extinction; this is one of the rides where we don't want the heavy machinery to work.

Elsewhere on the reserve, Ian Hampshire is near to completing his four-week marathon, aided by the 'heavy artillery'. Thunderbirds 2 and 4 have now left the site, having completed their work, and a cut & collect machine has recently been in to clear some rides of dense Bramble and open up the structure of the densely vegetated part of the 'rush meadow', to increase floral diversity.

Also joining the fray is 'Mr Mulcher' (pictured), which is grinding stumps and lying debris, to facilitate future maintenance.

Many thanks to the BCV, our volunteers, Ian Hampshire, and BC Reserves Officer Jayne Chapman.

FFTF Rowland Wood work party with BCV (2) 28.11.17.jpg
The Brighton Conservation Volunteers

FFTF Rowland Wood mulcher (2) 28.11.17.jpg
'Mr Mulcher'

FFTF Rowland Wood work party with BCV (1) 28.11.17.jpg
Yours truly on piano

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:02 pm

Great effort by all once more, Neil. That 'Mr Mulcher' looks pretty handy to me....should quicken things up enormously.

Love the dormouse by the way...surely one of Britain's most adorable creatures?

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:55 pm

Thanks, David.
"Love the dormouse by the way...surely one of Britain's most adorable creatures?"
Yes, along with Michaela Strachan. :D
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:59 pm

Church Copse

Many thanks to BC Sussex stalwart Paul Day (who I believe was working at Heyshott Escarpment yesterday) for his help cutting Hazel coppice at Church Copse, Clapham today (30 November). We were working alongside the regular cutters, led by national park ranger Bekah. I'll be back here on Thursday 21 December, to avoid Christmas shopping, so please get in touch if you would like to join us. I stayed on for a while, to tend the fire and watch a beautiful sunset.

FFTF Church Copse work party 30.11.17.jpg


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