As you’ve probably noticed, it’s been cold in the central belt recently and that has brought with it both positive and negative aspects to our work programme and life at the reserve in general.

 

As I speak, as far as I am aware, we still have 3 green sandpipers at the reserve. Having spoken to some of the long term, regular birders out and about, it seems likely that these delicate little birds will remain at the reserve throughout the winter. I snapped the picture below during the WeBS survey for November as one of the birds sat obligingly on a stump in the water.

 

Over the past few weeks, the volunteers and I have been working to the right of the Marsh hide to open up some of the areas of dense marginal vegetation. The aim of the game is to create more of a mosaic of habitats and a greater surface area of edges and open water. This will benefit both wildlife, such as water rail, which like foraging in this kind of habitat, and people, as it will make it more likely that interesting wildlife will venture into a visible position for those of you viewing from the hides. As you can see below, Alex and I were pulling reed mace. A precarious, smelly and cold job!

 

 

The guys and gals from Phoenix Futures were with us again on a weekly basis throughout the month. Last time out we tackled a big clump of Rhododendron near our tool store. We cleared a big area and burnt the cut vegetation. The next step will be to inject the main stumps to kill it off completely.

 

 

Towards the end of the month we had a visit from a group of Santander volunteers who wanted to help out and get stuck in with some practical work. We have had some contractors filling in some of the erosion holes along the Clyde Walkway recently and so we needed to do a bit of work to add the finishing touches and widen the path a little in a few areas. The ladies put in a really solid shift and the path looks a lot better now.

 

 

Lastly, last week we cut back a load of brash and fallen trees to the right of the centenary hide to really open up the view and the volunteers and I had a great day. We were treated to a great view of a water rail when we stopped for lunch too!

 

 

So why not pop down to the reserve and see what YOU can see? It looks lovely at the moment.

 

Mark.

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