Neil Hulme

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:50 pm

Neil Hulme wrote:...but I'm working on a Fritillaries for the Future project which will dwarf everything else I've ever been involved with.


Looking forward to hearing about this initiative, Neil.

Please let we devotees know as soon as you have details.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:58 am

Will do, David, once all the necessary consents and permissions are in place. If it goes ahead, it will sit alongside the re-introduction of SPBF to Sussex as the biggest 'wins' of Fritillaries for the Future'.
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:01 am

Big Bucks

I spent much of the day on Sunday (15 October) with the Graffham Down Trust volunteers, burning up brash and clearing woodland edge scallops on the GDT reserves. When the sun finally appeared, so did a few Speckled Wood, Comma and Red Admiral.

On the way home I stopped off at Petworth Park, where the Fallow Deer rut is now underway; plenty of belching and other ungentlemanly behaviour witnessed.

FFTF Graffham Down 15.10.17.jpg
Fallow Buck, Petworth 15.10.17.jpg
Fallow Buck (2) Petworth 15.10.17.jpg

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Goldie M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Goldie M » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:07 pm

Lovely shots Neil of the deer, hope you keep clear though :D Goldie :D

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:36 pm

Don't worry, Goldie - I challenged one to a duel and the others backed off. :D
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:57 pm

Flailbot Wars

Yesterday (17 October) I dropped in at Mill Hill, where the South Downs National Park Authority was waging war on the excessive Wild Privet and scrub regrowth on the lower slopes. The Flailbot (a remote controlled cutter) was being operated by a local contractor, and doing a great job of clearing the vegetation.

Where it has cut over areas of rank grass and brambles, there is quite a lot of debris to be raked off. National Park volunteers will be there next Friday (27 October), to help with clean-up duties, so any assistance you can give would be much appreciated. Please phone Phillippa Morrison-Price (SDNPA) on 07917 602371 if you can make it, meeting in the upper car park at 10.30 am.

BC Flailbot2, Mill Hill 17.10.17.jpg
BC Flailbot1, Mill Hill 17.10.17.jpg
BC Flailbot3, Mill Hill 17.10.17.jpg

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:21 pm

So, it's that time of year again, Neil, where you put down the camera for the main part and pick up the tools instead?

I've never seen one of those robotic cutters before. Are they a new phenomenon or have they been around for a while?

Good luck with your ongoing habitat restoration.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:21 am

Hi David. Yes, it's that time of year when I, like many others, get stuck into the hands-on conservation work. I see it as 'payback time', for all the pleasure butterflies have given me over the summer - although there are many other ways of showing our appreciation.
The Flailbot is quite new on the scene, and is unsurprisingly proving popular. It's not suitable for all scenarios, but undoubtedly a very useful tool in the box.
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:27 am

Woods For Wildlife

I spent an idyllic day on Thursday (25 October) working with the owners (Pete and Sally) of a private wood near Small Dole, where we were ably assisted by South Downs Volunteer Rangers Alison, Mark, Jim and Ian. While re-cutting Hazel coppice and burning up brash, we were visited by 4 Brimstone, 2 Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood.

The conservation work here has been going on for many years, but has accelerated over the last few winters, thanks to the regular help offered by the SDVRS. As you can see, the undergrowth now has a varied structure, which is ideal for supporting a wide range of butterflies, moths and other wildlife.

BC Pete's Wood with SDVRS 25.10.17.jpg
BC Brimstone, Pete's Wood 25.10.17.jpg
BC Pete's Wood 25.10.17.jpg

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Matsukaze
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Matsukaze » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:00 am

Interesting device that Flailbot. I could make good use of an armoured division or two of them!

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:03 pm

The Brighton Conservation Volunteers

I'm not sure how many Weetabix the Brighton Conservation Volunteers eat for breakfast, but it's more than two. They set to work on the BC Rowland Wood reserve today (31 October), armed with scythes, saws, loppers and rakes and, as always, swarmed like ants over every job. By close of play they had achieved at least double what I was expecting, despite having seen them at work before. They will be returning several more times this winter and are making a huge contribution to conservation efforts for the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Hats off to every one of them.

FFTF BCV Rowland Wood 31.10.17 (1).jpg
FFTF BCV Rowland Wood 31.10.17 (2).jpg
FFTF BCV Rowland Wood 31.10.17 (3).jpg

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:35 am

Good luck to you and your trusty and committed band of volunteers, Neil. There a few more satisfying ways to spend an autumn/winter day than improving habitat for butterflies.

How many work parties do you run during the course of the winter?

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:00 pm

Thanks, David. I agree - no better way to spend an autumn (or winter) day, and today was one of the best.

How many work parties? I didn't really know until I referred to my project listing. It was 24 in 2016, and already 33 in 2017 (obviously most being January - March). If the average attendance is 10, that effort soon stacks up. The volunteers are supplied by Butterfly Conservation, South Downs National Park Authority (their Volunteer Ranger Service and staff) and Brighton Conservation Volunteers.

Elsewhere in Sussex, a huge amount of work is achieved by bodies such as the Murray Downland Trust and Graffham Down Trust. And then there's the National Trust, Wildlife Trust, etc., etc. Where would butterflies, moths and other wildlife be without volunteers? They're the true champions of the British countryside.

BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:04 pm

Back To 'Pete's Wood'

I would like to say a huge "thank you" to the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service, who assisted with further habitat improvement work at 'Pete's Wood' near Small Dole today (2 November). An early mist soon gave way to wall-to-wall autumn sunshine, as we burned up brash, re-cut Hazel coppice and brushcut Bramble. If Carlsberg made beautiful woods, they would probably look like this one (other cheap lagers are available).

FFTF SDVRS at Pete's Wood 2.11.17 (1).jpg
FFTF SDVRS at Pete's Wood 2.11.17 (3).jpg
FFTF SDVRS at Pete's Wood 2.11.17 (2).jpg

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:20 am

Eartham Autumn

On Sunday (5 November) I took a walk through Eartham Wood, primarily to enjoy the autumn colours. This Beech forest seldom disappoints at any time of year and it's becoming increasingly good for woodland butterflies from late June to September. The section of Roman road (Stane Street) is worth following out onto the open downland towards Bignor, for great views back past Halnaker Mill to Chichester Harbour. I encountered three Red Admirals and a Speckled Wood on my travels.

BC Eartham Wood (3) 5.11.17.jpg
BC Eartham Wood (4) 5.11.17.jpg
BC Eartham Wood (1) 5.11.17.jpg
BC Eartham Wood (2) 5.11.17.jpg
BC Red Admiral, Eartham Wood 5.11.17.jpg

trevor
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby trevor » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:43 am

You mention Halnaker mill, I have a part time job very near the mill.
Last year a grounded Purple Emperor was seen on the farm premises ( not far from Eartham ).
Also in late March 2016/17 the Small Tortoiseshell emergence from hibernation, could probably
have given Ferring Rife a run for it's money !.

Already looking forward to next season,
All the best,
Trevor.

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:17 pm

Thanks for the information, Neil, and thanks also for the autumnal images from your out of season forays into the wild butterfly lands of Sussex.

I'm sure 2018 will see an even greater response to the work that you and your volunteers are doing.

Best of luck with it.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:50 pm

Thanks, David. The next post shows some pretty major stuff going on, but it's not the 'biggy' :wink: .
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:56 pm

Thunderbirds Are Go

Today (8 November) I met BC Reserves Officer Jayne Chapman, Sussex Branch Chair Nigel Symington and our wonderful contractor, Ian Hampshire, to look at progress with major restructuring work on the BC Rowland Wood reserve. Rowland Wood is currently closed to visitors for obvious health & safety reasons, but I'll be providing regular updates on progress.

Work is focused on the more remote parts of Rowland Wood, where good butterfly habitat (particularly for Small Pearl-bordered and Pearl-bordered Fritillaries) is currently in short supply; not for much longer! The rides and box-junctions in the more familiar parts of the reserve are also being improved through widening. The reserve will be closed for about three weeks, but the volunteer work party on Sunday 12 November will still go ahead, as Ian and his team take a well-earned rest.

Despite the use of these impressive 'Tonka Toys', the fine tuning of the habitat management work will still rely upon the critical input of our trusty volunteers, particularly over more sensitive areas. Please observe all exclusion zones, warning signs and barriers.

FFTF Rowland Wood works (1) 8.11.17.jpg
Thunderbirds 2 and 4

FFTF Rowland Wood works (4) 8.11.17.jpg
Thunderbird 3

FFTF Rowland Wood works (2) 8.11.17.jpg
Thunderbird 4

FFTF Rowland Wood works (3) 8.11.17.jpg
Thunderbird 2

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:18 am

Some very serious looking machinery there, Neil. I'm sure a great job will be done.

When will you reveal details of the 'biggy'?


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