Or a Goatsucker or Fern Owl perhaps?
“Bog birds and bugs” was the title of a talk given by Lucy Ryan, a masters student at the University of York to an enthralled audience at the Annual Meeting of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum held on 1 April 2016.
Lucy’s presentation which was supported by some superb images explained about the monitoring of the nightjar population on Thorne and Hatfield Moors. This study had a pilot year on Hatfield Moors in 2015, but this coming season will see the study scaled up and undertaken on both Thorne and Hatfield Moors. The three year study, funded for its first year by Natural England LIFE+ Project will look at the impact the management works undertaken by Natural England on the key species and interest feature of the European Natura 2000 Site. The Water Level Management Plan being implemented by Doncaster East Internal Drainage Board is not undertaking any monitoring of impact post implementation, instead handing responsibility to Natural England? These two major engineering projects costing in the region of £5.2m are currently being carried out on Thorne Moors are it is hoped will safeguard the site for its carbon sequestration capacity as well as its wildlife interest and as a natural wilderness for people to study and enjoy.
A second talk “Who started the drainage? Iron Age & Roman Landscapes in the Humberhead Levels” was given by Dr Paul Buckland who offered options as to the man-made and natural influences upon our local landscape. With the aid of aerial photographs showing crop marks and more recent LIDAR images Dr Buckland took the audience through time to the present day and to a very different landscape to that historic wetland once present across the Humberhead Levels.
After an excellent lunch provided by the Moorends Miners Welfare and Community Development Centre, intrepid explorers braved the dull weather and headed out along Broadbent Gate Moor, also known as Jones’ Cable to reach the tilting weir along the Southern Boundary Drain.
As if on cue a Marsh Harrier flew overhead offering evidence of the wildlife interest of the site. The number of sightings of this species has increased over recent years and this Natural England attribute to the wetter conditions they are creating across the site. The cessation of industrial scale peat extraction at Thorne Moors also reduced disturbance for a period but increasing visitor numbers encouraged through Open Access has also seen new threats to rare breeding species and NE have had to close down parts of the site to protect them in recent years.
To those who attended for the first time, after a series of great talks amidst great company about a great site …. see you again next year?