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Friday, 25 July 2014

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BARROW’S Wildside is a scheme by Cumbria Wildlife Trust that connects communities with their local green spaces. In this monthly column, project officer SUE THURLEY discusses the wildlife on your doorstep that you may take for granted.

IN August I’ve been having a great time exploring Barrow and Walney with the Neighbourhood Management Junior Wardens and a group from PAVE Day Care Service.

Both groups are taking part in the John Muir Award and have to explore, discover and conserve their local environment and then share their experiences with other people. As part of Barrow’s Wildside project I’ve been helping them with the first three elements of their award.

We’ve had a brilliant time discovering how plants and wildlife can be of benefit to humans, building shelters and making string out of stinging nettles and clearing woodlands of invasive plant species.

As part of National Marine week the groups visited South Walney Nature Reserve to learn about the wildlife there, they built sculptures in the sand of sea creatures and cleaned the beach of litter at Earnse bay.

Unfortunately most of marine week was exceptionally wet with only a handful of brave people turning out to help with our shark egg case hunt. A big thank you to those of you that braved the elements for this event.

In the air the birdlife has been on the move with many young chicks fledging and leaving their nests.

You’ve probably noticed the barn swallows congregating on telegraph lines, honing their flying skills in preparation for the long trip back to Africa. Their fast, agile flight is a perfect way to catch the insects they feed on.

Before embarking on their hazardous journey they can be found in areas of reed bed forming large communal roosts, making the most of the food supply present at the end of the summer months. They are waiting for periods of high-pressure to develop when the weather conditions will be more stable as their first hurdle is the English channel with no land for at least 20 miles on which to shelter.

You might like to come and see for yourself this evening. If so meet at the front entrance of Morrisons at 6pm this evening for a guided walk to Salthouse pool.

If the marine environment is more your thing then we would like people to come and help on the first ever ‘Shore Search’ in Furness. Meet at the West Shore car park, Walney, at 10.30am on Sunday, kitted out with shoes you don’t mind getting wet.

Our findings from the morning will help to build a better picture of what is present in the inter-tidal areas in Cumbria and be invaluable to the designation of the new marine conservation zones.

For more information give me a call on 01229 471066.

I look forward to hearing from you, Sue.

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