Darley and Nutwood Nature Reserve annual report 2021

Darley and Nutwood Nature Reserve annual report 2021

Darley and Nutwood LNR.
Report of activities in 2020-21.

The year of the COVID 19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of all our events programme in 2020, and the first part of 2021.
However the nature reserve remained open to the public and there was clear evidence of increased use by the public who had been encouraged to take daily outdoor exercise. The warm spring and summer lead to the main paths becoming smooth grassy swards. In Feb 2021 ITV Central broadcast a short on-site report with the help of Jo Watson, Andy Butterton and two young local visitors.
A small herd of 11 cattle from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust grazed the site for about 6 weeks in October and November. They did a good job and were monitored daily by a group of volunteers. They were well received by the public with no problems reported.
Our events program resumed in May 2021 with several successful events on site including a litter pick, an open meeting, balsam bashing, a wild flower walk, and a very popular bat walk lead by Garry Gray..
Work on site. Derby Parks Volunteers carried out 4 days of Himalayan Balsam control on the reserve continuing the great efforts by the group in the swamp. They also made a start on the riverside, a daunting task!
DPV also carried out 6 days of swamp restoration and have cleared a great deal of encroaching self- set trees from the main swamp area. Large habitat piles have been created with the cut material. Further works are planned during the next dormant season.
The Derby Parks team removed the vandalised fence alongside the river and have diverted the desire line path away from a large stand of Japanese Knotweed.
Japanese Knotweed control continues in line with land owner duty to control and reduce the spread of the invasive plant.
Further clearance of the alder saplings at the south end of the site, and scraping of the proposed pond area were done.  Regrowth of the bullrushes and yellow iris in the swamp area was a very welcome sign of recovery. Regrowth of the bullrushes (50 flowering spikes) and yellow irises flowering in the swamp area was a very welcome sign of recovery following the tree clearance work in 2019.     Although no formal sessions were arranged for Himalayan Balsam "bashing", we are very grateful to those volunteers who spent time removing plants in various areas of the reserve during the summer of 2020.   
Website. This is regularly up a Facebook page.
Surveys. Richard Williams did a bird ringing exercise in the summer of 2020, netting several species. He has now emigrated and a further report is awaited.

Highlights of the year.
The return of a large clump of Bullrushes to the swamp is most welcome, and follows a major set of clearance work in that area
Peter Hill reports:
A new species for the reserve this year is Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata), a pretty blue-flowered species in the Lamiaceae family, found flowering in the swamp in July. (I have created a new page for Skullcap in the Wildflower list on the website).It must have been present for some years as there is a large clump of plants - just not recorded before. Although not recorded previously, it must have been present for some years as there is a large clump of plants. A  new flower species for 2021 is Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) which is in the Poppy family (Papaveraceae).   Not new to the reserve but not previously recorded.   Found growing adjacent to the re-surfaced road near the gas burner and flowering in May 2021.
Felicity Jackson reports:  Despite much reduced visits to the site I noted plenty of bush crickets, grasshoppers, hoverflies and other insects at the reserve in 2020.
The self-set Alder thicket has attracted many Alder leaf beetles, Agelastica alni, another new one for the reserve. This species was rare but has recently become really common around the country.
Jean Roberts has continued with the bumblebee survey.
Awards. Our Green Flag Award was renewed in 2020 and we will be reviewed in 2021.
KLD 05/10/21

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