Sunday, 17 December 2017

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

...5 red deer!


Red deer (Cervus elaphus) are the largest terrestrial mammals found in Britain. This group consisting of a stag and four female deer, known as hinds, was photographed on the Eastern Moors of the Peak District during the autumn rut. The stag pictured can be seen emitting a loud and low pitched bellowing sound, known as 'bolving'. This call is used to attract hinds, and also to warn off other stags who might be interested in mating with 'his' hinds. 

4  hare prints, 


3 lizards, 




2 mating toads,


and a bilberry bumblebee! 



Saturday, 16 December 2017

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

...4 hare prints, 


Mountain hares (Lepus timidus) have several special adaptations which mean they are able to live in the cold, inclement conditions found high up in hills and mountains. In winter, their fur becomes thicker and turns white - to help camouflage them against snow. They also have shorter ears than brown hares to help minimise loss of body heat, and large feet to help them bound across the surface of snow. In the Peak District we have the only population of mountain hares in England, and we're collecting sightings of them through our Community Science hare survey to help learn how they may be impacted by changes in climate.

3 lizards,




2 mating toads,


and a bilberry bumblebee!


Friday, 15 December 2017

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

...3 lizards,



The common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) is one of the other target species (along with the adder) in the 'Scales and Warts' survey. This family of three lizards was seen basking on a rock on Big Moor on the eastern side of the Peak District. Common lizards can shed their tail when attacked. Amazingly, the tail can continue to move for some time once detached - distracting the predator and allowing the lizard to make its escape. 

2 mating toads,


and a bilberry bumblebee!


Thursday, 14 December 2017

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

...2 mating toads


The common toad (Bufo bufo) is one of three target species in the Community Science 'Scales and Warts' survey. Toads can be seen in large numbers in early spring when they return to their ancestral ponds to mate and spawn. This gathering can attract predators like herons and otters who will feast on the abundance of amphibians.

and a bilberry bumblebee!


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

...a bilberry bumblebee!


The bilberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola) is one of the three target species in the Community Science bumblebee survey. It is a species well adapted for living in the cooler uplands of Britain, and as its name suggests can often be seen feeding on flowers of bilberry in late spring and early summer.

A volunteer celebration walk

Dec 8th 2017 saw our hardy volunteers wrap up for a celebratory walk on to Kinder Scout.

What were we celebrating? Well, not just that Christmas is coming. This social event allowed us to salute Community Science's brilliant volunteers for all their fantastic efforts through the year, and also to thank them for helping the project to win this year's prestigious 'Park protector Award' - awarded by the Campaign for National Parks.

Volunteers were joined by Peak District National Park CEO Sarah Fowler, and Head of Programme Delivery at Moors for the Future Partnership - Chris Dean - who was also celebrating 15 years at the Partnership.

At the plateau, Phil from the Partnership's Conservation and Land Management team talked about some of the wider conservation work that has been happening in the area, but the -14C windchill meant the stop was short and sweet! 2017 has been a great year for the project, and the snowy views and mince pies were a perfect way to round it off.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Crisis + Christmas + Countryfile + Craven!

This month saw the final Crisis 'Creative Conservation' course trip of the year. Creative Conservation is attended by Community Science volunteers who are members of Crisis South Yorkshire's Skylight training programme.  Each month we take a trip somewhere in the Peak District, and undertake a Community Science activity such as surveying Bumblebees, Sphagnum moss or brushing up on our navigation skills.

This time it was a festive celebration taking a ramble around Blacka Moor on the outskirts of Sheffield, stopping for mince pies, before ending up at the Moorland Discovery Centre on the National Trust's Longshaw Estate.

We timed it just right - and arrived back as John Craven and the BBC Countryfile crew were filming a piece about Christmas Trees for this year's Christmas show - to be aired on Christmas Eve.

If you watch it, look out for us as we may be 'extras' in the background of John's piece to camera. He was kind enough to join our team photo afterwards!