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Pamber Forest Wildlife Reserve

Quarterly Report for July to September 2006

The fantastic weather in July ensured that the season recovered from the cool and late spring and by September many species of butterfly were finishing early. Four species of butterfly had particularly good years. The results of the butterfly transect showed that it was a record year for Brimstone with over a hundred more than last year, Comma also did well, the best year since 1997. Record numbers of Silver-washed Fritillary were on the wing, 566 appearing on the transect, this was also reflected in the number of the colour form 'Valesina' that were seen, 6 were seen between 11th July and 2nd August. The fourth species to do well was the White Admiral, it was the best year since 1996. Remarkably, seven second generation individuals were seen between September 18th and 21st; this is only the second time this has occurred since recording began in 1989, when a single individual was seen. Another unusual occurrence was the appearance of 5 Brown Argus, normally only seen on the chalk downs. Two Purple Emperor were seen, the first on 8th July was photographed by several people, and the second was recorded in Upper Inhams Copse on 25th July.

Summer is always a quiet period for birds but a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was spotted on 3rd August and a family of 6 Spotted Flycatchers were seen on 4th September.

In the past bat records have been difficult to obtain except for the records from checking the bat boxes. On the 13th September a local bat expert used mist nets to catch some at Scotsman's Green. A Brown Long-eared and a Whiskered bat were caught, this was particularly exciting as the latter record was a new species for the site.

On 11th July the new assistant reserves officer started, David Jewsbury has previously volunteered at Pamber Forest for many years and I was delighted to welcome him to the management team.

The usual summer tasks of grass cutting and ride surface upgrades were carried out as well as some bracken spraying. The herd of Dexter cattle were moved into Inhams copse for the summer on 13th July and moved back to the forest on 21st September. Access at Beggars Bridge was improved in accordance with the new access and interpretation strategy. The bridge over Bowmont's Brook was replaced and a new kissing gate was erected to replace the old stile on the boundary with Silchester Common.

Five guided walks have been conducted. On 29th July 13 people from BBOWT attended a walk. Unfortunately half way round one person collapsed and an ambulance was called, the person was happily recovered soon after. Twenty people attended a Hampshire Wildlife Trust walk on 6th August, 13 people turned out with Basingstoke Field Society on 8th August. A walk run as part of Basingstoke Wildlife Week attracted 7 people. On 9th September a walk for Basingstoke Council was also attended by the local MP Maria Miller. The councillors were escorted around the northern part of the reserve to look at the new access improvements and some of the management work that has been undertaken.

Graham Dennis, Reserves Officer (Basingstoke Area)