Beautiful Butterfly

Yarner Wood, Bovey Valley and Trendlebere Down, located within the East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths National Nature Reserve, are fabulous hotspots for butterflies! Yarner Wood was one of the first sites to take on the annual recording of butterflies back in 1976, when the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme began. https://ukbms.org/methods Volunteer butterfly surveyors walking the Yarner Wood transect The ‘transect walk’ is quite an undertaking, requiring surveyors to walk a fixed route, in good weather, on a weekly basis betweenRead more

NESTEGG: You reap what you sow

Dr Malcolm Burgess explains the value of long-term nest box monitoring primarily at Yarner Wood In 1955, soon after Yarner Wood was designated as a National Nature Reserve, 50 nestboxes were put up in a small area near today’s office. These were for an experiment investigating whether Blue tits had any height preference for nesting, with two boxes put on trees at different heights to test this. The addition of nestboxes to Yarner Wood had an unintended consequence. In theRead more

Helping Hands to Help Heathland

Students from Exeter College’s Supported Internship Programme spent two days this autumn working with Natural England to protect an important heathland area at East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths National Nature Reserve. They gained new skills, while helping to conserve the environment – this blog describes their time at the Reserve. We learnt about the importance of protecting heathland areas because it provides habitat for a variety of species such as the Nightjar. This rare bird travels from Africa in AprilRead more

BioScan Flying Insect Project at Yarner Wood

Insects are of major ecological importance playing an essential role in ecosystems, pollination, nutrient recycling, and pest control. 1 million species have been described worldwide, although scientists believe the number could be 10 times higher – the UK alone has approx. 24,000 recorded species. https://www.royensoc.co.uk/entomology.  Recent declines in the biomass of flying insects have serious ecological consequences, affecting human and ecosystem health and it is recognised that this needs to be urgently addressed. Comprehensive data is crucial to informing effectiveRead more

Wood Ants – the world beneath your feet

The distinctive thatched domes of wood ant nests are a ubiquitous part of the National Nature Reserve (NNR) landscape, frequently ignored or the cause of mild distress if you unknowingly stand within a foraging route on a woodland track. They may be one of life’s ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ as despite being locally common across England and Wales there are real concerns about contraction of red wood ant populations. So a timely look at theRead more

A Kaleidoscope of Colour – Wildlife watching in 2020

As the world seems grey as we enter the new year, both literally and metaphorically, now seems a good time to try and bring some colour into our lives. I understand that some people have chosen to keep their Christmas lights and decorations on during January to lift people’s spirits. They are in good company alongside English Heritage and Durham and Salisbury cathedrals keeping to the medieval tradition of celebrating through till Candlemass on the 2nd February. My contribution toRead more