Biological recording

Discovering Fineshade's biodiversity

In 2014 Fineshade Wood was threatened by a misguided planning application from Forest Holidays (FH) and the Forestry Commission (FC). During the successful fight to oppose their plans, it came to light that a wealth of paper-based biological records collected by FC over the years had simply been lost. 

 

FH had employed ecological consultants in 2014 and they found all sorts of unexpected and valued wildlife. These records were published as part of the planning application. However, the results of further detailed surveys commissioned by FH are still being kept secret (even from FC!). (Details here)

Since 2016 Friends of Fineshade with the help of Northants Biological Records Centre have begun to put together lists of all the species recorded in Fineshade and to invite expert naturalists to come and carry out surveys here. In particular we have been helped by Mark Hammond (moths), Phil Richardson (mammals), Bob Bullock (birds) and Douglas Goddard (butterflies), who contributed to our website and several others including Brian Laney (plants and reptiles), Steve Lane (beetles), John Showers (flies), Graham Warnes and Kev Rowley (aquatic invertebrates), Anna Jordan (ants) and Rachel Carter (mosses and liverworts) who have spent long days recording in the wood.

 

In this way we are describing Fineshade’s natural richness in order to encourage Natural England to designate the wood as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and to remind FC and FH that Fineshade is no place for holiday development.

  • We try to make sure that all known historical records and new records that are being generated are shared with Forestry Commission ecologists, the Northants Biological Records Centre and all relevant county recorders.  
     

  • We continue to encourage expert recorders to carry out survey work here, offering to support them with detailed local knowledge of the wood, enthusiastic interest and help, hospitality and accommodation as needed. 
     

  • We aim to keep complete lists of all species in all taxonomic groups, publishing the current numbers here and on the Pan-species Listing website (PSL).  Currently Fineshade is at position 22 in the league of most-recorded UK sites.

A little history
What we are doing now
Species richness

These are the numbers of species that we know have been recorded in Fineshade Wood.  Last updated 1September  2019.

Total 2306 species

  • Slime Moulds...................  

  • Lichens............................    

  • Fungi...............................   

  • Ferns and Mosses.......... 

  • Vascular Plants...............

  • Snails and Slugs.............

  • Annelid worms................

  • Arachnids: (Spiders etc).. 

  • Millipedes & centipedes..

  • Crustaceans (woodlice)..

  • Springtails.......................

  • Dragonflies...................... 

  • Crickets & Grasshoppers

  • Hemipteroids (Bugs).......

  • Bees, wasps and ants....

  • Beetles............................

  • Diptera (Flies)................. 

  • Butterflies.......................

  • Moths.............................

  • Other insects (eg Earwigs)

  • Fish................................

  • Reptiles..........................

  • Amphibians.....................

  • Birds...............................

  • Mammals........................ 

6

18

106

 89

449

12

5

36

6

11

1

16

10

92

32

240

158

36

826

19

1

4

5

98

30

Brian Laney recording plants

Recorders' day in June 2018

Some recording highlights

Jan 2018.  Fineshade is listed on PSL with 1650 species which put the wood in 28th position. Most sites above it are Nature Reserves and there are no other FC sites. An ambitious aim is set: 2000 species by the end of the year.

Early 2018. Realising that many common fungi had not been recorded, we set about remedying that. By April, 19 "new" species were added to the list including a new one for Northants.

April 2018. Spider expert Richard Pearce visits for the first time and plans a series of surveys for spiders in the wood.

June 2018. Experts accompanied by young keen naturalists visit Fineshade for a day's intensive recording - sometimes called a Bioblitz. Hundreds of species were recorded with at least 230 new for Fineshade.

July 2018. More historic records come to light. Brian Wetton's visit in 2012 adds 25 extra Hoverflies to the known Fineshade list.

October 2018. A foray by Huntingdon Fungus Group meant that 57 species of fungi were recorded, 48 of which were new Fineshade records.

November 2018. John Showers (flies), Kevin Rowley and Graham Warnes (aquatic invertebrates) spent a day in(!) and around three of Fineshade's best ponds. They produced nearly 100 records with 38 species that were new for Fineshade

December 2018 Ron Follows' moth trapping in Westhay Wood for the Back from the Brink project added 60 new species to the Fineshade moth list. Rachel Carter and Ryan Clarke found 11 new Bryophyte species on New Year's Eve.

August 2019. Sean Karley and members of the Kettering Natural History Society visit, looking particularly for plant galls. This provides many new records of the organisms that cause the galls - mites, midges, wasps, fungi etc.

September 2019. Forestry England ecologists send us the results of a botanic survey they commissioned last year for Westhay Wood (the southern part of Fineshade). 28 new species of plants including Violet Helliborine.

Steve Lane "tussocking" for beetles

Huntingdon Fungus Group on a foray

John Showers and Graham Warnes at Fineshade's best pond

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