Wildlife Wanderers

Wildlife Wanders is a series of occasional activities that focus on learning more about the wildlife around us.

The aim of the project is to introduce new audiences to wildlife, whilst also giving people already involved a chance to learn more. There will be a mix of practical skills training and species identification.

We were funded by Four Winds Trust until May 2015 to deliver a handful of sessions, including linking with conservation tasks in the Dales and the residential to Hutton Roof Crags

Prior to this, the project was funded by Big Lottery Awards 4 All programme.

Wildlife Wanders 2011

Wildlife Wanders 2011 is a project funded by Big Lottery Awards 4 All programme.

It has introduced new audiences to wildlife, whilst also giving people already involved a chance to learn more. So far there has been a mix of practical skills training, introductory sessions and species identification. We have worked with the Field Studies Council to produce an interesting and varied programme of ecology and species identification. These have been at such differing sites as Trench meadows SSSI with an abundance of Knapweed to the urban site of Brackenhill ULA. People who have attended have had the opportunity of gaining close encounters with wildlife with experts on hand to give guidance.

Saturday 3rd September 2011: Urban Wildlife

Dipping for creatures in the streamDipping for creatures in the stream Today we visited Brackenhill Urban Landscape Area to investigate the fauna that is present at this urban site. The session was led staff from the Field Studies Council based at Malham. We walked through the site discussing the recent and previous management that had occurred. We then focussed on the pond and adjacent stream. From the stram we were able to identify Stonefly nymphs, Leech, Freshwater shrimp, Flatworm, Cased cadis fly larvae and mayfly larvae. 

The session was attended by 7 people.

Click here to see other pictures of the visit.

Wednesday 31st August 2011: Woodland plants and animals

Looking for insects in the leaf litterLooking for insects in the leaf litter We had an evening visit to Northcliffe Woods which was attended by 9 participants. We started our visit by looking at some of the feature trees like Yew at the entrance. Then we discussed the site's underlying geology,  history and recent management. Afterwards the group focussed on discovering insects that live in the leaf litter and soon we were able to see snails, slugs and woodlice at close quarters. Plus a wasp nest made underground with a small hole for an entrance. Next we moved to the pond area where BEES have carried out management work, although there was little water remaining in the pond the plants that were planted are establishing themselves well. The walk carried on in to Northcliffe Park where we looked at the meadow areas that have been created.

Click here to see other photos of the visit.

Wednesday 24th August 2011: Focus on Insects

Looking for insectsLooking for insectsThis evening was attended by 11 people who visited Trench Meadows to discover the insects that live on the site. The session was led by a member of staff from the Field Studies Council who although had not visited the site before was able to detail the sorts of species that we were likely to find. First we were introduced to the equipment and how to use it. This included sweep nets, collecting jars and magnifying instruments. The site was full of Knapweed and we split up to see what we could find and collect. Then we came back together to examine the creatures we had found. They turned out to be such interesting and varied creatures as Pill woodlouse, Hawthorn shield bug and Frog hopper to the more macabre Flesh fly and Parasitic wasp. We were able to learn about the insects life cycles and ecology. The session provided us with a fascinating hands on experience of studying creatures at close quarters. Thanks to Kelvin for the additional photos of insects.

Click here to see other photos of the session.

Saturday 20th August 2011: Natural History of Gritstone Moors 2

Looking at cup and ring stonesLooking at cup and ring stones This visit was made by 7 people to discover some of the natural history features of the moor. The first area we looked at was the part that BEES have been managing over recent years. We focussed on two areas where bracken had been removed and compared the plant distribution. One area was found to have a Ph of 3.5! But it was still able to support a plant community that included Bell heather, Cross leafed heath, Ling as well as Crowberry and Bilberry. We then across the road to find the stones that have cup and ring marks and speculate as to how they came about. The walk was led staff from Field Studies Council who provided useful information throughout. 

Click here to see more photos taken on the day.

Wednesday 17th August 2011: Urban Wildlife

Checking results of net sweepChecking results of net sweep 8 people had an evening visit to the site to look at the key habitats. This involved a walk round discussing the site history and the recent management of habitats in its current guise. We carried out some sweep netting looking for insects in the meadow area and a pond dip in Boars Well. This resulted in us being able to see at close quarters such creatures as Water hog louse, Fresh water shrimp and Blood worms. We were also able to look at the trees planted in the site which included Aspen. It was a fine evening which gave us good views over the city when we reached the top of the site and considered the location of houses were some of the wanderers once lived.

Click here to see other photos of the walk.


Saturday 6th August 2011: Grasses and other plants - Trench Meadows, Shipley

Group detecting the odour from Sweet vernal grassGroup detecting the odour from Sweet vernal grass A group of 8 people were treated to an afternoon at Trench Meadows studying the various grasses that grow there. Adrian from the Field Studies Centre at Malham led the walk and first we had an overall look at site. Then we got down to learn some of the scientific treminology like glume, ligule and blade that would help us to identify grasses. Using keys and the terms we were able to find species like Timothy, Tufted hair grass, Common bent and Cocksfoot. It was amazing to witness the delicate and intricate arrangements of grass flower heads. And at the end of the day it was a fasinating introduction to the world of grasses that grow around us. 

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Wednesday 27th July 2011: Bat Walk

This evening Ian Butterfield of West Yorkshire Bat Group led a walk to discover and identify bats in Roberts Park and the surrounding area. We started the evening by gathering in the Half Moon cafe where refreshments were served. Ian then gave a talk about bats which provided useful and insightful information about the 16 species found in this country and the their habitats. We then set off on what was a fine clear evening and using bat detectors we were able to locate several different creatures. Clear sightings were difficult but the detector activitiy kept us guessing where they were flying. In total 52 people attended the evening and appeared to go home satisfied with the evenings display from the bats.

Click here to see other pictures of the evening.

Wednesday 20th July 2011: Wildlife Recording with West Yorkshire Ecology

Evie Bell from the West Yorkshire Ecology Service delivered a presentation to a group of 7 people at the YMCA this evening. The topic was the local ecological records that are collected and collated by the service for the West Yorkshire authorities. We were informed how we could contribute to the record database. And how the Service use the data that store to protect threatened habitats. It was interesting to discover that the records for fauna in the district are not as thorough as for flora. We plan to add to the data records over the forthcoming Wildlife Wanders programme.