The headline of this blog is ….it's very muddy on the Reserve and wellies are a must when visiting. This may be a bit off putting for some but when you realise why then I'm hoping you will come along for the ride with us!
As I've mentioned previously on the blog we have been doing lot's of work on the Reserve recently as part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme capital works. We are making the farm wetter and muddier for wildlife. These drone shots I took last week show just the extent of the work going on at the moment. Where once there were grassy fields we now have a system of ditches, bunds and scrapes which will allow us to wet areas up and dry other areas to allow maintenance and habitat work. The picture below shows the main Lonnen to the hide and either side there has been scrape work going on. The large ponds to the right hand side of the picture are our existing ponds which have seen large numbers of wigeon and teal lately.
To show just what a difference this is here is a before and after picture of the fields to the left of the lonnen.
I mentioned in a previous blog the reasons behind the work going here . It's a really exciting time on the Reserve! Where are we up to now? Well the diggers have moved down the farm towards the visitor centre and are creating scrapes and bunds on their way. The left hand side of the lonnen is now nearing completion and the right hand side is beginning to be worked on. You may see large bunds around the scrapes...well these are for our combination electric fence to go in to protect the nesting birds from predators such as foxes and badgers. We have also began to work on the saltmarsh where we are creating more saltmarsh pools, natterjack ponds and a temporary electric fence to go in to protect nesting bids from cattle trampling in the spring. The final stage will be to put in the drop board sluices and open up the feeder ditches to move the water in and out of compartments.
What is the aim of all this work? we want more nesting wader with higher success rates for chicks. everything we are doing is allowing us to maintain suitable habitat for redshank and lapwing in particular. What else might arrive is any9ones guess! However we think we will have other successes such as duck and other waders. Right now the disturbance from the diggers may be preventing birds from settling but the short term disturbance is definitely worth the long term gains!
Ok so I started of all doom and gloom about needing wellies....the diggers are moving across the lonnen and into different fields a fair bit which is creating a bit of mess on the Lonnen. Wellies will see you through it however and they are tidying up as they go.
If that hasn't put you off then we need your help! All this mud and excitement is bound bring in some exciting birds....if you see anything let us know! put it in the book and on the sightings boards. We want to know!!
Finally a big big thank you to our vols who have been helping with our new scheme by taking out fences (not their most favourite job!), planting seed, shutting of paths for us and much more.....we couldn't do it without you!
Here's the vols taking out a fence to allow the diggers into an area on the Reserve for the next bit of work!
Do come along, if only to see the work in progress and marvel at the amount of wetting that has already taken place. It doesn't need much imagination to conjure up the birds that will also find it attractive in the coming months and years. Who knows what might appear!
Currently there are some great sightings to be had: Marsh and Hen Harriers are visiting regularly not to mention flocks of Fieldfare and Redwings. Your winter supply of Damson Jam is still available along with the RSPB Sales Goods Pop-up shop over the next few Sundays.
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