It has been a busy winter at Baron's Haugh with work carrying on a pace at the reserve as things have started to open up and there are less restrictions on what we can do, fingers crossed this continues to be the case.

Much of our work over the past few weeks has focussed on the wetland and ensuring the fencing is improved to enable more grazing on the Haugh. This is vital for the quality of the habitat, ensuring good pool edges and a variety of vegetation height across the wetland. Unfortunately, the increase in storms and flooding has taken its toll on the existing infrastructure meaning last years grazing was not as intensive as wee needed it to be. As such over the last few weeks myself, Sam and the volunteers lugging fence posts out in to the middle of the wetland to repair damaged sections, this has been wet and muddy work (especially when you find a hole in your waders!!) but hopefully we will see the benefits during the year.

 Our volunteers doing the hard yards to fix fencing on the wetland and on the parkland

Away from the fencing, there has been a power of work going on to remove rhododendron from sections of the site, clear ditches and move fallen trees (more of which needs done!), as ever I can’t thank the faithful band of volunteers enough. We will also in the process of creating a new path in the woodland, the path will zig-zag down a slope making it more accessible than the existing steps which were in a poor state of repair. We hope this work will be completed before the end of March. We have also been experimenting with water levels somewhat this winter, raising the water level further in an attempt to knock back some edge vegetation. Clearly this is redundant when the Haugh is flooded, however if we can keep it raised over the summer and then drop it slightly earlier for passage migrants I hope we will see good results. This is always a balancing act between when wildfowl finish breeding and the passage migrants come in but we will be surveying the site over the spring and summer to ensure we can drop it as early as we can.

A work in progress. A new path is being created in the woodland

 A major positive of the continued easing of restrictions is that we have been able to establish a full events programme this year, after the success of the three events we held last year. The first few events are already up on our events page (https://events.rspb.org.uk/baronshaugh) which we feel has something for everyone! More events will be going up in the coming weeks, so please share these and come along if you can. We have also started our school visits again, and yesterday hosted 60 pupils from a primary school in Glasgow, which is fantastic and something we will look to be delivering more of through the year.

Finally, the erosion of the bank from the Clyde of the bund continues and this is just one symptom of wider issues with water management around the reserve. We continue to work on a large scale project to tackle these issues to make sure the we can manage the reserve sustainably going forward and work with the changing behaviour of the River Clyde. The good news is that opportunities to fund this work are beginning to present themselves and we will be looking to submit applications shortly. Associated with this, we are also applying for further funding to improve the path/viewing infrastructure, improve wildlife interpretation, connect the site to water and electricity and more. We will of course update you when we hear if we are successful or otherwise, as ever we can never be certain of the results of these applications but if successful this would mean large investment in the reserve.

As ever, please say hello if you see myself, Sam or our volunteers around the reserve, we are always happy to chat and answer questions about our work. Equally, we are always eager to hear about your sightings as unfortunately we don’t always get as much time as we would like to just to sit and watch!

Anonymous