So what has been happening since we closed the doors to the reserve at the end of January? We have been busy taking clearing the Observation Room out to make way for the builders to come in and start work. Everything has been unscrewed and taken down from the walls, and we have started to find new homes for everything. Preparations for the building work have also been taking place outside. The trees lining the path to the Observation Room are currently in the process of being cleared, in order to make way for the whole area to be re-landscaped, and for a new bike shed to be installed. Finally, a new feeding stations for our smaller avian residents has been created in woodland which won’t be disturbed by the building works, complete with 2 sunflower heart feeders and a peanut feeder, as well as a shiny new bird table.
Staff and volunteers working to take down all the smaller trees outside the Observation Room
Our new bird feeder set-up
We are also getting ready for the breeding season, which will be starting soon. Black-headed gulls are starting to look interestedly at the islands as possible nesting sites, and the smaller birds are in full song throughout the woodlands. Volunteers have been clearing the last few bits of tall vegetation on the far side that the ponies haven’t got round to eating, to provide perfect breeding conditions for breeding waders. Both Lapwing and Redshank nested successfully on the reserve last year, so we are hoping for more success stories this year.
Although we are no longer open, we are still keeping our volunteers busy, so yesterday we all went on a trip to take a tour of City Hall in Belfast. If you fancy becoming a volunteer when the new Window on Wildlife opens, keep an eye on the volunteering pages on the RSPB website for our new roles (http://www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering), or contact the Volunteer Development Coordinator (Suzanne.Irvine@rspb.org.uk).
Finally, if you’re missing your slice of bird action here at the reserve, why not visit Portmore Lough. This is a great RSPB reserve just 20 miles outside Belfast up the M1. This is also a wetland reserve, with high numbers of breeding Lapwing on the meadows and Tree Sparrows in purposely designed nest boxes. Check their website and blog for more information (http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/p/portmorelough/index.aspx).
Keep checking back here for updates on the developments here at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve, and we hope to see you in September.
The Team at RSPB Belfast Harbour Reserve
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