• Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

How much do you know about the wildlife on your doorstep?

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 16.22.05Tees Valley Wildlife Trust have developed new partnership with Middlesbrough Community Learning and are offering free courses for beginners about the wildlife found on two of its nature reserves in Middlesbrough and Stockton.

The courses start on April 14th with an introduction to the wildlife and will include a walk around the reserves as a well as a classroom session. Portrack Marsh is one of the area’s most important wildlife sites given its location at the very heart of Teesside. The wetland nature reserve attracts hundreds of birds each year and it provides a home to an exciting variety of mammals, amphibians, insects and wildflowers. On May 12th with spring well under way – the second day will look at the birds found on the reserve. Hopefully we will see visiting birds such as wheatear and whinchat as well hearing grasshopper warblers reeling.  Other common warblers including whitethroat, willow warbler, blackcap and sedge warbler will also be around.

On June 13th we turn our interest to another reserve Maze Park to learn about the wild flowers, butterflies and dragonflies.  With its glades and open grassland within the reserve it has attracted more than 12 species of butterfly including the increasingly scarce grayling and dingy skipper. The central mound is flat-topped and its plateau consists of the characteristic steelworks slag materials, presumably originating from the Thornaby blast furnace. The steelworks waste is lime-rich, low in nutrients and free-draining and its nearest natural equivalent would be chalk grasslands or base-rich sand dunes systems. Typically they contain an abundance of herb species including yellow wort, black medick, common centaury and bird’s-foot trefoil. These grasslands form an open sward with patches of bare ground and are also noted for supporting two species of butterfly that have suffered significant declines across Britain – the grayling and dingy skipper.

Other courses on offer include “Go wild with the Wildlife Trust” on 19th May which is aimed a parents (and children). This course will look at various things that can be done with children to make a walk in the countryside or park more interesting. Simple activities that use a minimum of equipment will be used to learn about and experience nature. The course will link to a new Wildlife Trust project #30DaysWild that is happening in June. http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild

Both these reserves have a lot to offer including Grey and common seals which can be seen on the Tees which runs between the reserves, gorging themselves on salmon and sea trout.  Whilst Otters have been spotted moving between the river and Portrack Marsh, Otter was first recorded on the marsh in 2004 having made a remarkable return to the Tees after being absent for some thirty years. The final 4 week course will give participants opportunities to look in a little more detail at the wildlife as well as getting involved in doing some management of the reserve. This course starts on 8th June and will include an opportunity to do the John Muir Award.

For more information about and to book on the courses contact the Trust on 01287636382 or info@teeswildlife.org.

By admin