Sunday, 9 October 2011

Your hedgerow mission - off you go...

The Safari has devised a (sort of) simple hedgerow survey for you all to try out.
Please have a go at doing one or more...

Autumnwatch 2011 Viewers Hedgerow Survey

Reason – To discover how much food is in the British countryside this winter

The usual hedgerow species are Hawthorn – small round red berries, Blackthorn – larger deep purple plum like berries sloes, Elder – clusters of small black berries, Holly – small bright red berries, Dog Rose – larger red berries hips, Crab Apple – large fruits like small apples could be yellowy-orange to red in colour. Other species may be present locally.

We need at least 100 participants from the Scilly Isles to John o’ Groats and Cape Clear to the Giant’s Causeway to show what’s going on

1. Method

Drive/cycle/walk(!) around between 10 and 20 miles of lanes/fields where you know there are plenty of hedgerows. Get the family involved use the survey as a nature safari. You could do five miles, visit a favourite wildlife spot then do five more on the way home.

Stop every mile or so where it is safe to do so until you have at least 10 record points.

2. What to record

At each stop have a look at a twenty yard stretch of hedge

How many berries are there?
Score 1 for zero or very hard to find
Score 2 for only a very few
Score 3 for a reasonable amount eg some bushes with fruit some without
Score 4 for a good crop
Score 5 for a bumper crop, the bushes are bedecked with berries.

Once you have done your circuit add up the total and divide by the number of stops to give an average score.

Also record how well berried any lone hedgerow trees are, those in awkward field corners or the middle of fields that don’t get cut – use the same scoring as for the roadside hedgerows

Please also note, this is where the family could be useful, any wildlife disturbed from the 20 yard stretch of hedge being surveyed; it could flocks of fieldfares, rabbits, even a stoat or weasel if you’re lucky – anything that is/was in the hedge when you arrived.

If you are a flickr user you could post photos of the general area.

We need
1. The date of your survey
2. Your county
3. Your route – eg Marton – Staining – Singleton - Weeton - Marton
4. Your hedgerow average score
5. The score for a ‘normal’ shrub in the area you surveyed
6. The bird & animal species seen in your hedgerows
7. Your (Autumnwatch) flickr link – if you uploaded any pictures

Also let us know if there are any future changes ie if you do the survey this week and there are plenty of berries but the area gets flailed before the end of the series.

Good hedgerow hunting! Stay safe on the roads and remember you can do more than one survey – I can’t go west (no hedges in the Irish Sea) but I could survey to the north, east and south!
Post your results here - you may need to set up an account

Alternatively you could put them on the comments here and we'll copy and paste them for you

Where to next? A hedgreow of your you go
In the meantime we'll sit here with a big map of the British Isles and lots of coloured pins...who's going to be the first agent to report back to Base Camp...


Aussie Glen said...

whats a hedgerow DD? Is that like a hedgehog but bushier...May be i could go check the scrub for ya...
or see whats under a Grass Tree?
Aussie Glen...

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

A ( double) row of planted shrubs, usually thorny, between fields along roadsides - natural fencing if you like AG.
A great habitat linking patches of woodland but being over-managed by large machinery these days to the detriment of our wildlife. Some management is necessary but not so severe on an annual basis!
Will send you some pics of good and bad hedges when I'm up and about again.


Aussie Glen said...

Thanks DD,
We saw simular with our council using a somewhat weird looking attatchment on a Excavator. It did not prune as the case should be rather just rips into the trees leaving a rather splintered wound on the trea limbs. One would think that the tree would now be open to infection and will eventually Die. Will be interesting to see what happens. What ever happened to Pruning and Trimming?

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

That sounds very like one of our hedge 'b*ggering' machines AG.
Pruning and trimming is too complicated and time consuming these days

Jon said...

Hi Dave,

Great idea your survey. I will do one on the lanes around Kirkham, hopefully next weekend - good excuse to combine cycling and bio-surveying! Will try to get our students doing some of it around where they live. In fact the hedgerows near me are looking pretty good at the moment for the most part - not much cutting going on. Also, just been to Marton Mere this morning and saw the gadwall and then what had to be a Great Skua. Took notes, a useless photo and checked the Collins Guide. Got decent views of it in flight as well as on the water. I checked for recent sightings and it seems there was one at Cockersand over fields on 6th October so maybe I'm not losing my mind completely! I've sent the sighting to the Fylde Bird Club.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Many thanks Jon - Gt skua on FBC website this arvo - a great spot 1st for the site I think



Stephen Dunstan said...

The Great Skua was reported independently this afternoon so popped down as I am local. Still there, not sure it is in A1 condition but I guess it would be at sea if it was!