The majority of recording work is carried out by members on an ad-hoc basis, with sightings being written into the site log book, which is kept in the Hide, or sent by email to the Site Records Co-ordinator.
The reserve has 17 bird nest boxes and, in consultation with the neighbouring farm, has erected a further 30 on trees along the brook and in nearby woods. The boxes are surveyed and maintained each winter.
In addition to the ad-hoc sightings of butterflies, a formal recording system was initiated in 2013 when the reserve was included in the county’s network of butterfly transect sites which form part of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. A small team of members work on a rota basis to carry out the transect recording and reporting. This involves slowly walking a fixed route around the reserve, in suitable weather, recording the numbers of each species seen in each pre-defined section of the route, once in every week from 1st April to 30th September. The recording is repeated every year in order to built up a continuous record which can be utilised in analyses of trends at site, county and national scale.
Despite there being a large number of moth species in the UK, we receive only around 12 sightings a year, and these from members without specialist ID skills or monitoring equipment. There is considerable scope for beginner or expert with a portable moth trap; the reserve, although compact, has a mix of rough grassland, wet grassland, hedgerow, riparian and deciduous woodland habitats.
Regarding plants and fungi, it would be helpful if recorders note the general location of each species found by using the reserve compartment numbers, which are shown on this pdf format downloadable map. Note that hedge numbers (Hn) are also used, and that aquatic and bank-slope plants can be located by the name of the water feature.
Surveying of mammals is carried on through occasional surveys conducted by the Derbyshire Mammal Group. In 2006 a Water Vole survey was performed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and club members, and continuous monitoring for presence of the non-native predator American Mink is undertaken.
The total number of species recorded at the reserve from the start of record keeping up to the end of 2012 is 369. The importance of a nature reserve could be judged to some extent by the number of UK Priority Species* it supports – 20 species recorded at the lower Jim Mart Nature Reserve fall into this category; 9 birds, 5 mammals, 1 amphibian, 1 fish, 2 butterflies and 2 moths.
*Based on the Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan 2011-2020.
Sixty five (65) species of birds have been recorded in total, which includes all species detected on, over and from the reserve. The number of species recorded each year is now fairly consistent (53 in 2012, 51 in 2011, 49 on 2010) compared with earlier years, with the slight increase year on year perhaps reflecting increasing recording effort.
UK Priority Species: Bullfinch, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Starling, Willow Tit, Yellowhammer.
The Lepidoptera are represented by 24 species of butterfly and just 26 species of moths. In 2012, 20 species of butterfly were recorded, the same as in 2010 and 2009, just two species less than the ‘best ever’ year of 2011. However the missing species, Brown Argus and Small Heath, have only ever been recorded in 2011, so 2012 could be regarded as just a normal year. That said, 2012 saw the reserve set a new record for the latest date of a sighting of a Gatekeeper butterfly in Derbyshire – 17th September, five days later than the previous record (2007).
UK Priority Species: Dingy Skipper, Small Heath; Latticed Heath, Shaded Broad-bar.
Eighteen (18) Odonata species have been recorded in total. The same six damselfly species have been seen every year for the last five years, with the exception of the Banded Demoiselle which has been seen in each of the last three years. The dragonflies were less consistent, with between 7 and 10 species seen each year out of a species list of 12; 2012 has been the poorest year of the last five with just 7 species, however the highlight was the second record of Golden-ringed Dragonfly, which was first seen in 2010 but not in 2011.
Plants, including trees but excluding bryophytes, make up the biggest proportion (36%) of the total species list.
Other groups include the Mammals (22 species including 7 species of bat), ‘other’ insects and spiders (64 species), and 3 species of Amphibians.
UK Priority Species:
Mammals – Brown Hare, Water Vole; Brown Long-eared Bat, Noctule Bat, Soprano Pipistrelle Bat.
Amphibians – Common Toad
Fish – Trout
Overall an impressive number of species, and there are still many animal and plant groups under-recorded.