It has been a very busy couple of months for the staff and volunteers at Barons Haugh with survey season kicking off and some infrastructure improvements.

First off, it was great to complete a new section of footpath in the western part of the reserve to replace an old decaying staircase. This makes it easier to access the river from the top of the reserve and creates a nice new path through the woodland, worth a wander right now to hear some spring birdsong. This path was made possible by some last minute funding from Network Rail, and it is work we are looking to continue across much of the path infrastructure in the reserve. Volunteers have also been using the remaining material to patch up areas of damage path which is heavy work so a massive thanks to them!

New FootpathVolunteers repairing footpaths

Path works being completed in the reserve (Credit David Anderson)

Away from the footpaths, our teams have also been making a start on our our family exploring area. Over the next couple of years we are looking to add several small self-led activities to the area of scrub woodland next to the car park to provide families with a place to explore with needing to venture too far. Our team of volunteers has started this work by building a couple of new bug hotels which look great!! 

A new bug hotel made by volunteers (credit Sam Udale-Smith)

Finally, as we are right in the middle of breeding season, we have been out doing plenty of surveys to find out what is happening around the reserve. This has included water rail surveys, dawn wetland surveys, and breeding water fowl surveys. The latter of these have already produced some good results with plenty of breeding gadwall, as well as shoveler and great crested grebe. We keep our water levels high at this time of year to provide for these species and so far at least it looks to be working. We will drop the water levels again through July in time for the migrating waders that pass through the area.

Barob's Haugh during a dawn survey (Credit David Anderson)

So a great few weeks at the reserve, and plenty more to come over the summer, we will keep you posted!