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Summer 2008            http://www.nbnrs.org.uk

   Greetings from Chairperson Betty Haynes

Thank you to all members who attended our Annual General Meeting on 17 July marking the beginning of a new year for the Society. This will be our 10th year and next year's AGM will be a 10th birthday celebration with a birthday cake! There were no members offering to serve on the committee so your committee remains the same as before. The Minutes of the meeting are included for your information. Our special guest was Steve Prewer from Countryside Services. He has a special interest in our progress as he helped to form the Society in 1999 and develop and plan the Noak Bridge Nature Reserve. He was impressed with our achievements and uses our Society as a model for new societies.

Our ponds are filling up again and the work parties continue each month, assisting Basildon Countryside Services to maintain and improve the reserve. We would welcome more volunteers, please! There is not much heavy work; recently we have constructed bamboo nests for bees and a stag beetle pyramid. Our autumn tasks will include cutting back overgrown vegetation on the trails and removing young willow trees from the edges of Willow Pond, while its renovation continues. Countryside Services will be repainting the entrance gates.

Butterflies and dragonflies are now active in the reserve. I have recently seen the red dragonfly, blue damselfly and dragonfly chasers. Butterflies include the small blue, speckled wood, white and brimstone. If you have any information about things you have observed or photographs you have taken please send them to Weed at weed@wussu.com, or give me a call at 01268-531365.

Those of you who reported a very nasty smell in the reserve in the past week will be relieved to know that the sewage leak has been reported to Anglia Water and they will be investigating the source.

We hope to see you at our first  Evening Bat Walk  on Saturday, 13 September at 7.30pm. Children must be accompanied by an adult and everyone must bring a torch! Becky Gibson will lead the walk.

Advance Notice - Yuletide Ramble - Sunday 7 December 2008, 10pm -12pm.

   Membership Secretary, Weed

Many thanks to the fifty members whose subscriptions for the 2008-2009 membership year have already been received. Those who have not yet renewed should find a membership form attached to this newsletter, which we would be grateful if you could return as soon as possible. Anyone prefering to receive future newsletters via email please contact info@nbnrs.org.uk. It will be sent as an attached 1MB Word (.doc) file.

   Mark Williams, Countryside Services

Stag Beetle Pyramid Erection at Noak Bridge

The task during a recent work party was to create a home for saproxylic invertebrates. The most well known of these creatures, the endangered stag beetle lucanas cerva, is Britain's largest land beetle, giving the structure its name. These beetles are now rare in Britain, mainly due to loss of suitable habitat. Many woodlands have been cleared of fallen trees, depriving these animals of the dead wood needed to complete their life cycle.

The pyramid was constructed in order to encourage more saproxylic invertebrates to set up home within the reserve with the aim that they will eventually expand their range into the surrounding woody interior. It was built by partially burying logs placed vertically into the soil starting with the tallest at the centre. A top layer of rotting wood mulch was then added to provide a mild heat to kick-start decomposition.

   Work Parties

Come and join us on the third Wednesday in each month. Please look for our notices on our notice board at the Eastfield Road entrance and in the Chemist's shop window. Next meeting, Wednesday, 15 October.

   Bat Watch Evening!

Betty is arranging this guided walk with Becky Gibson in the reserve on Saturday, 13 September at 7.30pm. We will meet at the Eastfield Road entrance. Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. Please bring a torch.

   Norsey Wood Nature Reserve Open Day - Sunday 21 September, 12-4pm

The Committee will attend representing the Society. All members and friends welcome.

   Yuletide Ramble

Noak Bridge Nature Reserve - Sunday, 7 December 2008, 10am - 12pm. Mulled wine and mince pies in the Village Hall after the walk.


If you have been threatened or frightened by unleashed dogs in the reserve please write down the date, time and details of the occurence and call the dog warden at 01268-294280 or Betty Haynes at 01268-531365.

The Stag Beetle

Earlier in the year at one of our work parties, we constructed a wooden "pyramid" in the hope of attracting stag beetles (Lucanus cervus). Why bother, you may ask?

They are the UK's largest beetle and their numbers have declined due to the destruction or non-availability of their natural habitat, in which they spend almost all of their life. They live in decaying wood and with our desire to have gardens, woods and open spaces neat and tidy these days the beetles have difficulty in finding suitable places to live.

They are mostly active during the evening which helps them avoid predators. The male is up to 3 inches (75mm) long with enormous "antlers" which are actually enlarged jaws, but are useless for eating. However this does not bother him because stag beetles do not eat! They are rather partial to rotting fruit from which they suck up the juice via little tubes in their mouths (rather like us drinking through a straw.)The old English name for them was Cherry Eaters. They also like the sweet sap from trees. After emerging from the ground the adults do not grow, and survive on the fat reserves accumulated at the larval stage of their long life underground, hence no need for solid food.

The mating season is from the end of May to the beginning of August when the males fly around looking for a mate. The female which is smaller, 2 inches (45mm), is not so keen on flying as the male. Following mating the female lays 12-24 eggs in a carefully prepared nest of moist decaying wood and soil. Her job is now finished and she returns to the surface where she will die.

After about 3 weeks the grubs hatch and feed in the bed made for them and will then eat the decaying wood, their only source of food, until at the beginning of summer about six years later, the fully grown larva the size of an adult human thumb, will stop eating the decayed wood and bury itself in the soil. Here it makes a chamber the size of a hen's egg, and after 3-6 weeks when it can neither eat nor move, it becomes a pupa. The adult male will then emerge, but will wait until the next year and warm weather to get his first taste of fresh air after so long underground.

All he has to do now is to find a mate, after which he will soon die.

Researched by Joan Fynn  -  Thank you!

Annual General Meeting

Thursday, 17 July 2008, Village Hall, 7.30pm

Committee:      Betty Haynes, Chair
Weed, Membership Sec.
Joan Fynn
Jean Youé
     Janet Bircham, Secretary
Ralph Chapman, Treasure
Peter Fynn

1.  Apologies

Terri Sargent, Mark Williams, John Barron, Tony Youé.
Janet Bircham apologised to Tony Garner for reporting his absence from the 2007 AGM when he was actually there!

2.  Chairperson's Welcome - Betty Haynes

Betty welcomed 13 members to our Annual General Meeting and thanked them for their continued support. Our special guest, Mr. Steve Prewer from Countryside Services would be arriving shortly.

3.  Matters arising from the Minutes of the AGM held 5 July 2007.

There were no questions arising.

4.  Adoption of the Minutes of AGM July 5 2007

Approved. Proposed by Tony Gardner. Seconded by Becky Gibson.

5.  Treasurer's Report - Ralph Chapman

Ralph Chapman presented the annual Statement of Accounts which recorded a balance of £1,874.44. The Committee will be discussing ways we may use some of these funds to improve the reserve or benefit local wildlife.

6.  Membership Secretary's Report - Weed

The Society's membership for 2007-8 was 91 households, our best to date. 70 of these memberships are Noak Bridge residents. We are especially grateful to all those who make such generous donations. In the past year most of our new members have come from introductions via existing members, and we would like to thank Jennifer Petley for the new members she introduced.

Website - http://www.nbnrs.org.uk - Our Work Party and meeting notices are publicized here and records of wildlife found in the reserve. Further details of the Society's activities can be found in the noakbridge.net forum. Thanks are again due to noakbridge.net for the provision of web-hosting facilities for our web site.

7.  Countryside Services - Mark Williams

Mark was unable to attend this year.

8.  Election of Officers and Committee

As required by our Constitution, the current Officers and committee members officially stood down and Betty asked for nominations. There were no nominations for new Officers or additional committee members. Therefore Betty Haynes suggested to the meeting that the previous officers and committee be re-elected en-bloc. This suggestion was acceptable to the meeting and the officers and committee were duly elected to serve for another year.

9.  Open Forum

Steve Prewer - Countryside Services - Betty Haynes was very pleased to welcome Steve Prewer to our meeting. She expressed her appreciation for his agreeing to attend at very short notice. Mr Prewer set up the reserve and helped to form the Society in 1999. He congratulated Betty and the Society for the progress we have made and said that we are a model for the establishment other Societies in the area. He asked for support for the Local Strategic Partnership which aims to locate and investigate wildlife and environmental groups in our area. He promised to send relevant information and Betty agreed to have a representative of the organisation attend one of our meetings for an exchange of information. Betty asked him about the shrinking pond levels in the reserve and Mr Prewer said this was a county-wide problem due to the decline of water tables as a result of diminishing rainfall amounts. The reserve's gates will be painted soon. Betty mentioned that we were not able to accept the offer of new trees from the Parish Council as a suitable site had not been selected. Mr Prewer said it was not urgent as we really have plenty of trees already.

The Annual General Meeting was declared closed at 8.30pm and members relaxed to enjoy wine and cheese and informal discussion until 9.00pm.

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last updated - 3 July 2015
URL - http://www.nbnrs.org.uk/news0808/index.html