Woodland birds response to climatic change: Part 2

In this blog, Malcolm Burgess from the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, describes the importance of monitoring invertebrates and shares the findings of some innovative research in Yarner Wood – measuring insect poo to help investigate the impacts of climate change on woodland birds.   As I mentioned in my last blog, the breeding success of hole-nesting woodland birds, such as Blue Tits and Pied Flycatchers, is thought to be dependent on the short seasonal spike in availability of caterpillar prey.  These bird speciesRead more

The Ponies of East Dartmoor’s Woods – Part Two

In The Ponies of East Dartmoor’s Woods – Part One I talked about how important our herd of 14 Dartmoor ponies is in maintaining the structure and biodiversity found in the woods today. In this blog I look at what we do for our ponies, in return for all their hard work. I also highlight some of the issues involved with keeping a herd of semi-wild Dartmoor ponies, in a reserve where human interaction is inevitable and how visitors can enjoy these poniesRead more

The Ponies of East Dartmoor’s Woods – Part One

This is part one of a two part blog series, on the ponies of the East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve. Regular visitors to Yarner Woods may have been fortunate enough to stumble across some of our resident Dartmoor ponies. In total, we manage a small herd of 14 individuals. Their presence in the reserve is very much to our benefit however the relationship that we have with these little ponies is not one-way. In part one, I describe how throughRead more

Bovey Beauty

On Sunday 25th Sept there will be opportunities to take part in Family Friendly volunteering activities or for the more adventurous take part in the the Bovey Beauty Fell Race.   The Bovey Beauty has been running for a couple of years now enticing runners from Devon and further afield. It is a challenging 10 mile fell race through the beautiful  Bovey Valley incorporating a tough and hilly terrain. The volunteering activities take place along the route enabling family and friends andRead more

All in a ‘Clays’ work

If you have visited Yarner Woods recently you will have noticed that our pond water level has dropped more than usual. It was our task was to try to investigate why this had dropped so much and then mitigate the problem. This was an excuse for our Tuesday volunteer group to get their hands dirty or rather ‘clayey’ and do a bit of clay puddling around where we thought the source of the leak was. The clay was delivered andRead more

Bilberry Bonanza

Moor than meets the eye, a Heritage Lottery Funded Dartmoor Landscape Partnership Scheme, began its 2016 programme of summer events last Thursday with the brilliant Bilberry Bonanza. The adventure, hosted at Yarner Woods: East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve, saw participants judge a wide variety of bilberry based delicious cakes and treats baked by the Moor than meets the eye team all competing for the coveted ‘Great Bilberry Bake Off’ trophy. After hunting through the woods for their own bilberries, familiesRead more

Learning to Drive

Working on the East Dartmoor NNR often means that we need to get to remote parts of the reserve that would take ages by foot and sometimes we are carrying awkward and heavy equipment. Few of the tracks are accessible by car which is why the land rovers and other 4×4’s are so useful. However before we can jump into one of these vehicles we need to know how to drive them off road. So a few of us have recently beenRead more

The bridge over troubled water

To ensure the safety of visitors here at Yarner wood regular checks are carried out on the manmade structures around the reserve. As part of our role as conservation assistants James and I assisted with these checks and are now making a start on the necessary work that needs to be completed under the guidance of the reserves warden. One of the tasks that we identified was that a small foot bridge was being undermined by the furious winter currentsRead more

Studying pied flys …part 2

There is much to report, since the first returning pied flycatchers were spotted at Yarner Wood on 5 April. A dedicated team of Natural England volunteers are 4 weeks into their survey of 250 nest boxes around the Reserve, meticulously recording signs of pied flycatchers and other species. And we have been eagerly awaiting news of the 20 male flycatchers, that scientists fitted with tracking devices at the Reserve last year – it is hoped that data from these geolocators willRead more