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Peak District Connect

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Due to the outbreak of coronavirus our usual activities engaging with people in their wonderful National Park have been suspended until further notice. Whilst we thank you for staying local, we want to also help provide some connection to your National Park and to the natural world on your doorstep or back garden!

#PeakDistrictConnect is here to help you reap the huge benefits of connecting to the natural world, whilst importantly staying home to protect the NHS and save lives.

With the help of our Junior Rangers, each week we will be sharing a new and exciting blog, some challenges to keep you busy, as well as a number of wonderful online resources and activities you can dive into all from the comfort of your own home.

We would love to hear from you too so we will be sharing some of your stories using the #PeakDistrictConnect to inspire the nation. Now is the time to open your eyes to the wonders of wildlife you can see at home!



Sign up for 30 Days Wild!

This June, join thousands of people taking part in the Wildlife Trusts' annual nature challenge, 30 Days Wild! Do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month: for your health, wellbeing and for the planet. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

You’ll get a free, downloadable pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month, plus lots of ideas to inspire you to stay wild all throughout June (and beyond!). For extra ‘bonus’ items, keep an eye on your emails for additional, fun activities, from instructions for baking hedgehog cupcakes to a beginner’s guide to wildlife photography.

To get involved visit the Wildlife Trusts website and sign up!


Views from the nest! - Peak District Junior Rangers Blog

Hello, I am a Junior Ranger from the Marsh Farm Junior Ranger group and have been since October 2018.

A pair of Goldfinches and possibly a pair of Robins

In my front garden there is a Camelia bush in which I have found a pigeon’s nest containing one egg! On a local walk from my house I also spotted another small nest with five white-and-brown-speckled eggs inside - they were around 4cm tall and 2cm wide! Can you identify the eggs below?

Can you identify these eggs?

We have passed them at least three times recently but have seen no change so we think that they might have been abandoned – and I have not yet been able to identify them! We also have a pair of Goldfinches nesting in our ivy bush (which is around 8ft high) and possibly a pair of Robins.

We came across this nest in our Red Robin bush! It is a Dunnock nest and although you cannot see it in the picture there is still a small blue egg left in it! We have seen the parent Dunnocks picking insects from our lawn and they love resting in our Camelia tree! The Dunnock chick’s head was about as small as my index finger’s nail!

Dunnock chick

We spotted a strange bird of prey in our garden

One evening whilst eating tea we spotted a strange bird-of-prey in our garden, which when my dad looked it up, we found that it was a Nightjar! That was the first time I had seen one, then when I  was cycling back home from our allotment, I spotted another Nightjar swooping over me (it was in the evening, which is the time they are most often seen)!

I had not really explored my local countryside as much until now

The snowdrops in our garden, although the picture is from earlier in the spring, have stayed out quite late, up to the end of March! Also on local nature walks I have seen a Cuckoo and heard owls! I had not really explored my local countryside as much until now but I have been finding more and more cycling and walking routes to investigate!

Snowdrops

Things you can do at home now

Learn about the birds in your garden

There are lots of online guides, here’s one from the Wildlife Trusts.

Attract more birds to your garden

Create a bird bath with this RSPB guide.

Discover Wildlife have a great list of ideas to attract birds by providing food, a home and security.


Life on Moors – Life on the Peak District and South Pennine moors benefit us even when we can't visit

It’s sometimes hard when you aren’t directly benefiting from something to appreciate how important it is. Though in today’s time of following rules to stay at home to stop the spread of an invisible threat that’s exactly what we are all doing.

Many millions of people who don’t live within walking distance of a beautiful boggy landscape are still benefiting from it at this very moment

As you sit reading this blog millions of acres of marvellous sphagnum moss is growing on our uplands and in the process absorbing tonnes of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. As you stop and listen to the birds singing, appreciating the nature on your doorstep, the decomposition of this sphagnum moss is locking that carbon up in the ground in the form of peat. Where this is happening there is a benefit to the whole planet and all living things by helping us in the fight against climate change. Peat in the Peak District locks up 20 million tonnes of carbon!

Ladybower reservoir

About 450 million litres of drinking water comes from reservoirs in the Peak District

Whilst millions of you do maths lessons at home, healthy blanket bogs are performing another important service. They’re filtering water which runs into reservoirs that supply drinking water for millions of people across the nation. About 450 million litres of drinking water comes from reservoirs in the Peak District each day – that’s enough to fill 180 Olympic sized swimming pools! Water that’s naturally filtered this way costs far less to treat, saving water companies, and their customers money.

Reducing flood risk for millions of people

Whilst we try to get the most of the sunshine during staying home, our boggy landscapes are a defence for when the rains do arrive. In times of heavy rainfall our boggy defenders slow the flow of water from the hills to our towns and cities, reducing the chance of floods.

Sphagnum mosses can absorb uptp 20x their own volume in water

Our bogs need protection

When they are in good condition our bog habitats perform all these services which benefit people and wildlife. Unfortunately, because of past pollution, wildfires and climate change, many boggy habitats are in poor condition. Moors for the Future, and many other teams across the country focus their efforts on restoring these damaged habitats to their former boggy status, increasing all these benefits that are so important, not just for people but for the wonderful wildlife that relies on them!

The perilous and fascinating round-leaved sundew – a carnivorous plant that relies on boggy conditions

Want to learn more? Visit the virtual Bogtastic experience

With the Bogtastic van unable to make its usual visits, showing everyone the beauty and importance of blanket bog, we've created a virtual Bogtastic experience on our website. There you can watch the inspiring video from the van, see demonstrations of sphagnum and the gully blocking model and even download the Lizzy Lizard game app. We hope this gives you just a taste of the Bogtastic world until you're able to experience it in person. Visit the virtual Bogtastic experience.


#StayHomeStayWild: Focus on Bees

Here’s a post written by our ranger Anna, just before we went on lockdown! Luckily, bees are one of the creatures you can easily see around your home and garden. Read on to see how you can rescue a bee...

Covid-19 might be impacting our human lives in many different ways, but wildlife is getting on with its thing and spring has definitely sprung! We have heard lapwings and curlews in the Peak District National Park this week, and seen newts and frogs busy getting together in the ponds! Whilst I was out and about replacing old footpath waymarker discs in Edale this week, I spotted this soggy bumblebee looking very sorry for itself on a gate:

Bee rescue

This time of year is tough for bumblebees, as the queens are emerging from a long winter hibernating underground. Their energy reserves are low and they need to find flowers quickly to get the vital nectar they need to stay alive. Once the queens have gathered enough energy, they will start searching for a place to start a nest.

Following the advice from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, I gently encouraged the bee onto a leaf and carried it to the nearest flower. Thankfully a local resident had planted some primroses outside their house nearby. I also gently breathed on the bee to try to dry it out and warm it up, but I’m not sure that this is entirely recommended as it involves getting your face quite close to something that might sting you!

Bee Rescue

Once the bee was safely on the flowers, it started to shiver its wings and raise its middle legs – this is the ‘back off’ warning position and so I did what it asked and left it to be a bee!

Anna Jennings, PDNPA Engagement Ranger, Edale


Things you can do at home now

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