Our April Eco Church wildlife survey – Mary, Mary, how does your graveyard grow? – With the help of our Junior Ringers.

A Viviparous common lizard photographed during our survey, very unusual to see

Each month Bradoc Junior Ringers find out more about our ecology and carry out surveys of our birds and wildflowers as part of our Eco Church Project.

On the second and third of April they identified and recorded birds, bats, reptiles and the flowers that are supporting our Bumble Bee and Solitary Bee populations at this time of the year. They monitored on Tuesday at Junior ringing, and then again at our community hub on Wednesday and surveyed the cemetery and the graveyard.

One of our bumble bees in the summer on a lavender bush in the bumble bee garden

Our baseline for wildflowers is based on previous surveys that identified we have148 plants and the bumble Bee Conservation Trust Survey ‘Bee Kind’ suggests that we should have a theoretical annual profile which looks like the graph below. We are checking to see if this is true. The important months for our bees are March to October and we found 12 species flowering, with celandine, primroses, daisy, comfrey and dandelions the most prolific while the others included Greater Stitchwort, Herb Robert, Laurel, Pink Campion, Three Cornered Leek, Violets and Wild Garlic. We will repeat the survey later in the month.

For the birds we are setting up a new monthly baseline so that we can monitor our population through the year. We found Blackbird, Black Redstart, Blackcap, Blue tit, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Crow, Goldfinch, Great tit, Greenfinch, Jackdaw, Nuthatch, Robin, Song Thrush, Wood Pigeon and Wren.

While they were there, they also did a reptile and amphibian survey identifying Slow worm, Lizard and Toads and the mammal survey identified Brown Long Eared and Lesser Horseshoe Bats and Hedgehogs. We have five different species of bat.

A frog picture taken in August 2023

We started Junior ringers in February 2015, and they have been busy doing interesting things throughout the year ever since. In October they made a video for the Bishop to launch the Diocesan Prayer, they rang for the Kings Coronation and had a lovely party.

On Good Friday they shared leading the prayers, the reflections, and the readings at the stations of the cross on the Easter pilgrimage walk through Boconnoc Park. They rang for the Easter service, some read the lessons and intersessions as they do for every Sunday service, and they had fun making one of our two beautiful Easter Gardens. Kidz Klub made the other.

We found large slow worm warming themselves during the April survey.

Our junior ringers’ range in age from about 4 to 14. They ring hand chimes, the mini bells, and amongst other things play the piano, design and test paper aeroplanes and have a good time.

Junior ringers meet weekly on Mondays 7:30 and Tuesdays 5:30 – 6:30 at church and Kidz Klub meet on Thursdays as an after school club at school, both are registered with Messy Church.