Posts Tagged ‘sphagnum’

Dodgy weather didn’t stop ‘high-flyers’

October 10, 2019

Regular readers and followers of the Forum’s activities may be aware that we have since 2016 undertaken an Annual Sphagnum Survey on Thorne Moors SSSI, generally around the beginning of November and which is a good time to search out interesting bryophytes including Sphagna on the site.

Ahead of this years fieldwork, intrepid surveyors took Desmond the #NatureHack Drone out on an adventure to ‘fly’ the Southern Canals on Thorne Moors.

An early start was necessary not just because it is a large area but because rain and winds were forecast for later in the day.  So, despite the threats of dodgy weather we had to grab the opportunity of this window of opportunity on Wednesday.

It was no mean feat getting Desmond to the Southern Canals, hats off to Mark for his strength and stamina with the box of kit.  The next task was to get to an area where the drone could be launched and where it could land after completing the programmed flight.  We needed to be in the centre of an area which would provide a 500m distance to all points of the compass so an ideal series of aerial images could be obtained.  Despite the terrain, akin in parts to a jungle we achieved our goal.  On each of the two bases a number of flights were launched and landed.

It was a fascinating procedure to observe and assist with.  The way that the eBee Drone is constructed and prepared for flight.  The installation of two cameras and Lithium batteries which required regular changes because battling the wind used more energy than had it been a still day.  Wednesday’s wind speed reached 10 metres per second at times which is just below the maximum that the Drone is able to fly at.  Desmond was programmed to fly c.90m above ground level in order to achieve useful data to inform the Sphagnum Survey in November.  The preparation involves a pre-set route over the target area and the landing is also planned.  The flight was also voluntarily registered with the CAA via a phone App.  Our luck held and Desmond had soft landings on bracken fronds with just one nose dive into a heather plant, but it didn’t even scratch or ‘bloody’ his nose.

It was a long day, and tiring because of the terrain but thanks to Mark and Clare from #TeamNatureHack around 900 aerial images were taken.  These after processing (estimated to be around 15 hours of work) will inform planning for the November Sphagnum Survey.  To see a video of the launch technique employed by Mark see here and to watch how Desmond lands safely here

If anyone reading this has an interest in bryology, sphagnum in particular and would like to join us on Friday 15 November then get in touch for more details via execsec@thmcf.org

No ‘animals’ were harmed in this exercise, all returned safely and as far as I am aware no unwanted hitch-hikers were found …. but they are sneaky little critters, so watch this space for updates on the adventure and the next phase.

Note also that all the necessary permissions, licences and health and safety procedures were complied with, please do not try this ‘at home’ as they say.

Desmond ready for take off hrk DSCN9788 Crop

Desmond the #NatureHack drone, ready for take off

 

Annual Sphagnum Survey

August 1, 2019

The Forum has been involved with the series of annual surveys for sphagnum on Thorne Moors since the recent survey was initiated in 2016.  The 2019 adventure, the fourth in the series, will take place on Friday 15 November and will again focus efforts on the area known as the Southern Canals.

Sphagnum spp. spore  capsules hrk P7010020.JPG

For more background on the rationale for the recent work and the background see Sheehan et. al. 2017 in Volume 10 of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers.

So, if you’re interested in sphagnum then why not consider joining us?  Could you be the finder of the elusive Sphagnum balticum?  This species was last recorded on Thorne Moors in 1980 by Tom Blockeel.  It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about the peat forming sphagnum and bog building mosses.  It’s an opportunity to meet experienced field naturalists and professional bryologists.

For more information or to register an interest in joining the survey please contact execsec@thmcf.org

Sphagnum survey teams 2018 hrk DSCN5922 Crop

Sphagnum surveyors taking a well earned break, 2018 Survey. 
Images: Helen R. Kirk

Hidden landscapes, Dynamic habitats & Sphagnum?

March 20, 2018

Further to the previous blog post inviting people to the public presentations at our Annual Meeting on Friday 6 April, the Executive are pleased to provide the details of a third speaker.

ANNUAL MEETING

on Friday 6 April 2018
Moorends Miners Welfare & Community Development Centre, West Road, DN8 4LH

Doors open to the public lectures at 11.00

Lucy Ryan (University of York) “Dynamic habitat selection of the European Nightjar from a Thorne & Hatfield Moors perspective, latest updates”

Kieran Sheehan “The hunt for elusive Sphagnum species on Thorne Moors continues; an update”

Nika Shilobod (University of Plymouth)Rediscovering the ‘Wildscape’: Reconstructing Hidden Landscapes through a Case Study in the Humberhead Levels”.

Light buffet lunch

Please make use of the lunch time to network and to pick up publication bargains. The Centre has been booked until 3pm so people will be able to network amongst themselves.

There is no charge for the talks but a donation in lieu for refreshments and light buffet lunch will be used towards the purchase of more research equipment (particularly the tags needed to track the nightjar activity).

To help with the administrative aspects of the day please book a place for the public lectures and lunch by contacting execsec@thmcf.org or write to T&HMCF, P O Box 879, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5WU

Annual Meeting 2018 : An invitation

March 13, 2018

The Executive are pleased to announce that following the formal proceedings of our Annual Meeting on Friday 6 April 2018 members of the public are invited to two talks.

Come and learn about the enigmatic nightjars of the Humberhead Levels and discover how many of the 34 species Sphagnum found in the UK can be found on Thorne Moors.

Doors open to the public lectures at 11.00 for interested visitors.

Nightjar Chicks Ringed 280616 web

Lucy Ryan (University of York) “Dynamic habitat selection of the European Nightjar from a Thorne & Hatfield Moors perspective, latest updates”  and

Kieran Sheehan “The hunt for elusive Sphagnum species on Thorne Moors continues; an update” 

Sphagnum squarrosum 958 web (2)

The event is being held at Moorends Miners Welfare and Community Development Centre, West Road, Moorends, Thorne, DN8 4LH.

Visitors are encouraged to make use of the lunch time to network and to pick up publication bargains. The Centre has been booked until 3pm so people will be able to network amongst themselves.

 To help with the administrative aspects of the day booking is essential so please contact execsec@thmcf.org or write to T&HMCF, P O Box 879, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5WU

There is no charge for the talks but a donation in lieu for refreshments and light buffet lunch will be used towards the purchase of more research equipment (particularly the tags needed to track the nightjar activity).

Images: H R Kirk

Thorne Moors Sphagnum Survey 2017

November 28, 2017

The British sphagnum list stands at some 34 species.  Thorne Moors SSSI has half that number (Wall 2014) and in 2016 a survey was undertaken to try to relocate a number of species not recorded in recent years.  A report on the findings by Sheehan et. al. can be found in Volume 10 of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers.

Follow up fieldwork is scheduled for Friday 8 December, anyone interested in taking part should contact execsec@thmcf.org for more details.

If last years fieldwork is anything to go by then this season promises to provide some interesting data.  In 2016 a three hour search yielded some 13 species, this year it is hoped that there will be more time spent in the field in addition to more surveyors working the selected area around the Southern Canals.

Sphagnum squarrosum 957 web

  Sphagnum squarrosum aka “Spiky Bog-moss”, Thorne Moors.  Image: Helen R Kirk

Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a field guide is recommended reading.  Anyone interested in bryophytes or mosses is encouraged to look at the British Bryological Society‘s excellent online resource of species accounts.

Another excellent resource is that developed and prepared by Paul Ardron, Ian Rotherham & Chris Percy which can be accessed via UKeconet Identification Guide: Spaganum Mosses

For more information on the species to be found on Thorne Moors see particularly Thorne Moors A Botanical Survey.  Available locally from the Thorne Times office or by post (contact execsec@thmcf.org for more details).

LIFE+ after Peat?

October 18, 2014

The LIFE+ Project for Thorne & Hatfield Moors was officially launched yesteday.

Natural England have secured some £2.3m of European funding which will build on the works currently being implemented by the Doncaster East IDB through the Thorne Moors Water Level Management Plan. This funding will see some eleven jobs created for Natural England, some scrub clearance on both Thorne and Hatfield Moors and some scientific survey and monitoring over the three year period of the project.

The presentations took place at Hatfields (Doncaster) and after lunch delegates toured a few select spots on the southern fringe of Thorne Moors.

Linda McAvan MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber and The Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP both reflected on the timeline from peat extraction through to LIFE+.  Delegates learned that Ms Flint is the MP who most mentions ‘peat bogs’ in the House, we say long may that continue!  McAvan spent the afternoon out on the southern boundary drain getting to grips (for those with a knowledge of peat restoration: no pun intended) with the complexities of peat hydrology.

Linda McAvan with some of the delegates from the LIFE+ Project site visit to Thorne Moors SSSI.

Linda McAvan with some of the delegates from the LIFE+ Project site visit to Thorne Moors SSSI.

Prof. David Hill, Deputy Chair of Natural England * also attended the launch event and visit.  Both Prof. Hill and David Shaw, a Senior Manager in NE, spoke of the importance of partnership working.  Prof Hill is an advocate for biodiversity offsetting and a founder of the Environment Bank.

NNR staff explaining the intricacies of sphagnum identification.

NNR staff explaining the intricacies of sphagnum identification.

 

* Natural England’s website has now be incorporated into GOV.UK


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