Flora & Fauna

This is the the preface for:
"A Ticker’s Guide To The Flora & Fauna around Hatfield Colliery (2002-03)".

The ecology of the Stainforth area is very much the same as any other mining village in South Yorkshire. The types of trees found growing wild, the birds that nest in their boughs and the plants and animal life that flourishes beneath them are all typical of this part of England.
Like many people around Stainforth, my first concern when learning of Mr. Budge’s plans for a power generating plant at the colliery site was for the state of the local wildlife and what the effects, if any, there would be on the local flora and fauna.
Past experience has taught us that by recording and observing the ecology of an area, we can see the early effects of any outside influence which may upset the delicate balance between man and nature.
Those representing Mr. Budge’s Coalpower company were well aware of this fact when they commissioned several reports to be prepared covering various aspects of the local environment.
So it was with great interest that I read the reports contained within Coalpower’s Environmental Statement, which was made available for public viewing in a room set aside for this purpose at the colliery.
The documents provided are very substantial, well written, and professionally presented. They contain many facts and figures about the local environment, from soil types to bat species. However, as is the way with professional reports, they are a little on the heavy side and hardly make riveting reading.
I decided to become, in bird watching parlance, a "ticker", and to record the wildlife I saw around Stainforth at first hand. There can be no substitute for local knowledge, and it’s the people who live in a certain area who know through personal experience which flowers open their petals to the sun in early spring, which butterflies flutter by in mid summer, and which trees cast their leaves to the winds of late autumn.

By recording which species inhabit the area now, we can look at the lists again in five or ten years time and observe any changes that may have taken place and which may be attributed to the disruption of the local ecology through the changes brought into force by Coalpower, or by any other factors which may become evident in the future.

The ecology of any particular area changes over time and it isn’t always easy to find the cause. Here, we are presented with a unique scenario, where the physical features of this village are to be altered so drastically that there must inevitably be some knock-on effect on local wildlife. As far as protected species are concerned, Coalpower will have to ensure that there is as little disturbance as possible to the habitats and nesting areas of creatures such the Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris), and the Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) and it’s close relative, the Lapwing or Green Plover (Vanellus vanellus) , whose numbers have decreased alarmingly in recent years.

I have now been busy "ticking" and photographing for the last year, and what at first seemed like a good idea has become a weight which I feel I have to put down. The immensity of this task has become overwhelming and I have other projects I wish to pursue. For instance, just to record and list every species of insect found within 2 kilometers of the colliery will take several years and would require a dedicated web site and a degree in entomology to assemble the results! I would have liked to have included more photographs of the local fauna, particularly with respect to local bird life, but unfortunately I lack the necessary photographic equipment. I could, of course, have opted to use someone else’s photographs for illustration purposes, but I decided in the end to use everything which is my own work and for which I hold the copyright.

I’ll continue adding to the lists as time goes on, but for now, albeit somewhat prematurely, please enjoy

"A Ticker’s Guide To The Flora & Fauna around Hatfield Colliery (2002-03)".




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