There are many bits of Hermand Birchwood that would look nice as photos on this here web page, but lots would take days to download, so here are just a few shots, here and there. This is one of our new boardwalks, made for us by George Hunter's Project and Training team.
Other artifacts include bat boxes, an owl box, several bridges, some stiles, kissing gates and a smart new sign for the site map, including directions and a window for events, interesting features and fashion tips.
Hermand Birchwood Reserve
Location; South of West Calder,
OS sheet 1 NT031618
A fine Owl box. Sturdily built by Robert, it is difficult to reach and in a well secured position. This is a new home any Barn or Tawny Owl would be proud of, recently put on the market and available for immediate occupation, A short flap from the beech, it features a rainproof roof, delightful views, easy access from local fields and hedges. Ideal for bringing up a family. Viewing by appointment. or just drop in. Reasonable price.
This is a view of 8 pipistrelles in a woodcrete bat box. They were actually photographed by Malcolm Quirie and I thought it kinder to use his photo than disturb our bats. The recent survey of the 24 boxes revealed 14 bats. Also five squirrels in one Owl Box (seen above) and a dray (Squirrel nest) in each of the other Owl Boxes. Eviction notices may have to be served on the squirrels.
28/10/07.An email from Dr Stuart Smith of the Lothian Bat Group says it all...
"LBG has been checking boxes at bat box schemes in Lothian region since 1988 and up until yesterday we had only found the 2 commoner pipistrelle species, and not for want of trying I might add.
That first year we checked something like 10-12 boxes at Almondell Country Park.
Nowadays we and/or the local countryside rangers check upwards of 250 boxes annually at about 20 different sites containing many different habitat types. Prior to yesterday the count was 257 bats from 229 boxes checked this year.
Yesterday Hermand Birchwood, an SWT reserve south of Mid Calder, where bat boxes were first erected in 1995/6 claimed the honour of being the first bat box scheme to have bats of another species resident in a box when they were checked. (We've never been convinced either, that we've identified anything but pipistrelle droppings in boxes that have been unoccupied at the time of checking).
Box 6 contained 5 Natterers bats, one of which can also be seen in close up, in the photos.( taken by Carol)
The galling thing about this whole episode is that having been present at that first check in 1988 and >90% of the other checks over the years, on this occasion I didn't attend, the check being carried out by Natalie, David,Carol, Nigel and Marta along with Jim Hewlett, one of the SWT volunteers who helps look after the site and maintain the boxes, so I wasn't there to witness this historic occasion !
C'est la vie I suppose, I'm sure I'll get over it eventually !
Latest News (well 2011 anyway)
Using DNA analysis we have confirmed the bat boxes have been visited by at least one Soprano Pipistrelle