Any readers of the Langford Lowfields blog will know that we have had an extremely busy month over September, planting 10,000 reed seedlings on Phase 2 and silt lagoon 7, hosting a visit from UK wide colleagues at the RSPB Reserves Conference and I even managed a weeks holiday down on Alderney!

But we have of course, been just as busy over at Beckingham with so much going on over August and September….

Our tireless volunteers have been sprucing up our visitor infrastructure with a well needed lick of paint – a long job, but it is really worth it to see the fences, bridges, discovery domes and viewing platform looking smart and fresh. We have also been removing some old fencing that we no longer need, further improving the appearance of the site.

After our most successful breeding season ever, we have been doing some habitat management on some of our wet grassland fields at the eastern end of the site. Some of our wet fields this year have seen a large growth of soft rush, or Juncus effusus, to give it it's scientific name. Some Juncus is really beneficial on a wet grassland, providing cover for birds such as snipe and seed food in winter for wildfowl such as wigeon and teal. However too much is detrimental to breeding lapwing, which like a short sward so they can sit on their nests and see well around them. Therefore we have been cutting some of the Juncus and are about to rotovate the cut areas to reduce the amount of Juncus and create great muddy and wet areas for feeding waders.

With these improvements, we hope that these fields will be home to even more breeding waders and wintering wildfowl in the months to come.

Our wildflower meadow creation project has also taken a major step forward too throughout September. Two large fields have been prepared and seeded with a flower rich seed mix, which over the years will develop into a fabulous meadow, providing food and habitat for numerous insects, mammals and birds!

And of course, we have seen some great wildlife recently including marsh harrier, wheatear, peregrine, jack snipe and water vole.

Water vole. Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

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