Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Dog's Vomit!

A great find from a Community Science volunteer - This yellow blob is actually 'Mucilago crustacea' a slime mould known as dog's vomit (or dog's snot)! 

It was photographed by Julian Barber as he helped with the annual vegetation monitoring at our site on the Roaches in the South West Peak. 

Dog's vomit encrusts over vegetation -  starting off this almost luminous yellow colour, before turning white and then black within 24 hours as the spores mature.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Photo competition display - on tour!

Images on display in Bakewell Gallery

A display of the winning, runner-up and selected short-listed photos from our 'water in the uplands' themed photographic competition is now touring venues throughout the summer and into autumn. You can visit the exhibition at the venues below; and we will add more dates to the list when new venues are confirmed.

26th May - 9th June: Gallery Oldham
9th June - 23rd June: Totley Library
23rd June - 7th July - Bakewell Tourist Information Centre
7th July - 21st July - Sheffield Central Library
21st July - 4th August - Marsden Moor Exhibition Centre (National Trust)
4th August - 18th August - Brownhill Countryside Centre, Greater Manchester
18th August - 1st September - Hayfield Library
1st September - 15th September - University of Sheffield -Western Bank Library
15th September - 23rd September - Edale Visitor Centre and 'BogFest'

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Community Science wildlife records 2016 - an overview

During 2016, Community Science received sightings of 6324 individual animals via our 'casual record' surveys; that is: birds (curlew, red grouse and swallow); butterflies (peacock, orange tip and green hairstreak); mountain hares, brown hares and rabbits; and ring ouzel and redwing.

The majority of sightings - 4322 - were from the birds survey, but 300 butterflies were seen along with 893 hares and rabbits, and 809 ring ouzels or redwings.

The map below shows the distribution of these records across our project area - the Peak District and South Pennines. The blue line is the boundary of the Peak District National Park, and the purple shape is the SAC (Special Area of Conservation) designated as internationally important for the habitats it contains - including blanket bog.

The light blue dots show where sightings of these individual animals came from (note that each dot could represent more than one individual animal, for example if someone saw 10 swallows in a particular place) and it is interesting to note that generally, the sightings broadly match the SAC shape, especially in the Dark Peak area.

The red dots, added for comparison, show where we distributed freepost postcards asking for people to send in sightings (sightings were also submitted via our website and the MoorWILD app). These hint at the correlation between location of sightings and distribution of postcards - underlining the limits of 'casual' surveys such as these.

Nevertheless, there are some useful and interesting things which the data can reveal: During 2016 the casual ring ouzel sightings helped to inform where surveyors looked when conducting an extensive breeding bird survey of the Eastern Moors area. The distribution of hares, and the correlation between mountain hare coat colour and snowfall has fed into a PhD on the subject of 'seasonal crypsis' in that species.

In the longer term, we'll be able to see if the dates certain species are first sighted in a year (for example emergence of green hairstreak butterfly, or the return of curlews to their moorland breeding areas) are shifting - and whether this fits into a pattern of earlier springs which are predicted to occur as our climate changes.

To find out more about current climate change research, please see some of the links we've gathered together on our webpage.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Work placement with Community Science

Guest blog post by Ellie Shaw
I chose to come to Moors for the Future Partnership for my work experience, working with the Community Science team I have seen and taken part in a large range of activities and developed lots of skills.

I have listened to talks about what Moors for the Future do and how they do it and have attended a bumblebee training session in Todmorden where, with a few other members of the local community, we learnt how to identify and record the different types of bees. 

In the afternoon we tried to put what we had learned into practice and went for a walk around the local area, despite there being a lot of flowers and plants, we saw relatively few bees, 5 or 6 early bumblebees, some tree bumblebees and a Common Carder queen bee which I found on a car.

I also helped at an event at Chatsworth where we, myself, Joe and some casual members of staff, set up and ran the teachers preview event in the stick yard to raise awareness but also as a practice for the following weekend. 

As well as various information boards and activities such as matching the caterpillar with the butterfly we had various demonstrations, one showing the blocking up of gullies by pouring water down tubes, one smooth, one grassy and another grass and model gullies demonstrating how the work MFFP do slows down the water and allows sediment to build. We also took peaty water and poured it through a bottle filled with sphagnum moss to show how well it cleans the water.

With school I had to set myself three goals for the week, to improve on analysing figures, improve on problem solving skills and build on my knowledge of using online programs. I feel as though I have achieved all three, I have learnt to analyse records of sighting and been able to input them into iRecord using other programs to help me find the needed information and I have built on problem solving skills through many things such as helping to organise and set up events.

It has been a great week which I have really enjoyed. The range of different things I have seen and done has given me plenty of ideas about what I want to do in the future and a much larger awareness for what is around me. Thank you.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Buds, Berries and Leaves survey: A volunteer view

Guest post by Community Science volunteer Jeff Kessler: 

So, here I am slowly walking up a steep hillside. I’m a bit short of breath & the wind’s cold and has a bit of a bite to it but do I care? No, because the sunshine is glorious & the views are just stunning. 

The other side of Luddenden Dean is a patchwork of fields & woodland; steeper lower down then a shallower slope higher up as it becomes the shelf. Above that is the moor, bleaker but still beautiful & full of life, albeit not quite as showy as some other habitats.

Volunteers undertaking a Buds, Berries and Leaves survey...

I’m on my way from Jerusalem Farm car park to the beginning of the Midgley Moor transect to do the Buds, Berries and Leaves Survey. It’s an easy task, I just have check & record whether the specific plants being surveyed have buds, berries or leaves on them. 

I’ll then pass on the data to Moors for the Future, who’ll use it to learn about changes in the timing of events in the plants’ life cycles; important information to track the effects of climate change. I don’t need to be a botanist, or even know that much about plants to do this, I got the training I need in a day & I know I can contact the Moors for the Future Community Science team if I need any advice.

So, what do I get from doing this survey work for Moors for the Future? I’ve learnt more about certain plants & the moorland habitat, & have now started to work on my general plant id skills & understanding of ecology; I get the satisfaction of contributing to scientific investigation of the natural environment & how to protect it; I get lots of fresh air & exercise; if I’m lucky I’ll see a kestrel or other bird of prey!

All round, well worth doing!