Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Back from the Brink monthly roundup – March

March has flown by… And what a month!

They say the British love to talk about the weather, so let’s honour that tradition and say that the weather has been pretty crazy this month! In the case of our projects – weather is essential!
With the heavy snow falls so late in the year and the cold snaps, some of our projects have had to alter their work in order to fit around it all.
Not that it’s stopped them and our amazing volunteers, across the country, getting out there among the snow-capped sand dunes (yes, that’s right – snow and sand in the same sentence?!) and chilly heaths of England. We really couldn’t do the work we’re doing with our rare species without the brilliant people who give up their time to come and lend a hand, so may I take this moment (and many others) to say thank you – it means the world to us, and of course the species too.

Having said all that, it now looks as though spring has finally sprung (fingers crossed!) and so the next few months sees all of our projects starting to take off as the weather gets warmer and their species start to appear.

Before I go into what we have to look forward too, let’s take a look back at what’s happened in March.

Field Crickets have been on the brain as the RSPB put out a fantastic new podcast earlier this month all about this rare cricket, ‘cricket tickling’ (an intriguing technique used by license holders) and it also included a brilliant interview with our very own Field Cricket project officer, Jane Sears.
Back from the Brink got involved and produced two blogs; one introducing the concept of ‘cricket tickling’ and one wittily titled “Anyone for Cricket?” We’ve also got a video, available on our Youtube channel, that shows why the project does cricket tickling and how these license holders go about doing it. We can’t wait to see how the Field Crickets fare as the warmer weather starts to really kick in!

The first of our Black-tailed Godwits have arrived! Sightings are coming in from the Nene Washes and we couldn’t be happier to see people tweeting and sharing photos of these wonderful birds. Project Godwit, a partner in the Back from the Brink Black-tailed Godwit project, are on the lookout for any colour-ringed Godwits you may see so please get in touch with them or Back from the Brink by tagging either of us in any photos on social media (@ProjectGodwit @NatureBftB).

Our Barberry Carpet Moth project have been busy planting Barberry plants in Wiltshire in the hope that more of the natural habitat for this species will increase its numbers. We’ve got a brilliant blog all about the project and the Barberry plant, so if you have time – pop your feet up and have a read!

We spent a week on social media exploring and celebrating the work Back from the Brink will be doing alongside Kew Millennium Seed Bank (Kew MSB). They’ve had some brilliant successes this month with seed germination so this summer will be an exciting one, we’re waiting to see how their work gets on. Keep an eye on our social media (@NatureBftB) for updates on their work.
Our fantastic Colour in the Margins project brought out their first introductory blog – beautifully written by their Outreach Officer – outlining why the project has come about and what the project hopes to achieve in the next three years. KewMSB will be contributing to this project by supplying them with seed of England’s rare species.

Talking of blogs, we’ve been blog-tastic this month with a whole range coming in from all of our projects. To add to the ones already mentioned:

We had an update from our Shifting Sands project and a post from Ancients of the Future explaining the concept of ‘haloing’.

A beautiful blog piece has been written by our Change Manager, Laurence, that outlines perfectly why we are doing the work we are doing and what legacy we hope to leave within conservation.

In the invertebrate world - we had a wonderful blog celebrating everything Narrow-headed Ant, as well as the brilliant impact crucial volunteers have on the work we do.

The Willow Tit project wrote a piece announcing a survey across the Dearne Valley as well as a wonderful blog from guest-blogger and volunteer Maddie, who tells us what it’s like to work with the Willow Tit team up in the Dearne Valley – a brilliant read.

We also had a piece from our Pine Marten project in response to recent news about the impact of Pine Martens on Grey Squirrels. But of course, that wasn’t the biggest Pine Marten news of the month…

A couple of weeks ago we had terrific news from our Vincent Wildlife Trust-led Pine Marten project:
Their camera traps had captured the first ever footage of a Pine Marten in Northumberland! See the footage here and read the full story on their website.

This story was picked up by the BBC, The Northumberland Gazette, and ITV. The best quote came from our Pine Marten officer, Kev, who described it as being like “finding a Yeti”… A fantastic success for the project, we’re incredibly proud and couldn’t be more thrilled to have this footage so early on in Back from the Brink. Who knows how many more sightings there will be in the next three years!

To support the awesomeness that is the Pine Marten project success – we have several videos of different animals also caught on camera on our Youtube channel as well as the aforementioned blog. Don’t forget that this project, among others, also has a group Facebook page so if you live locally to the project – you can be the first to know the news and events happening near you for Back from the Brink and its species.

 

Wow! So loads going on across Back from the Brink – we’ve had a brilliant month with some wonderful successes along the way, we hope to see more of this across the next three years.
Coming up this spring:

Gems in the Dunes continues to work on its habitat for the Natterjack Toad and Sand Lizard in the next few months. They’ve had an overwhelming amount of support from volunteers. Great days out have been had in the sun, and snow! As always – a fantastic atmosphere with people learning a lot about their local coastline and the rare species found there. If you’d like to know more and live locally, don’t forget to check out their ‘group’ page on our Facebook.

Within our other projects - there will be talks, releases, sand-patch creation, habitat maintenance, walks, identification sessions – you name it, we’ll have it at some point! Its spring – the flowers are coming up, species are coming out of hibernation and we can’t wait to see what the next few months hold!
Don’t forget - keep your eyes peeled on our social media for updates on all of our projects as well as our events page for a range of upcoming opportunities to get involved, from bumblebee talks to reptile surveys.

 

Till next time…

 

Emma Burt & James-Harding Morris.

Community and Outreach Officer & Communications Manager.

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