Between the storms, their are signs of spring. February is a strange month, we are most likely to be battered by the worst weather; storms, snow, wind and hail. But it teases us, with glimpses of spring time activity. Our bulbs in our gardens are starting to emerge, the days are slowly growing longer, the sunshine seems a bit warmer and birds are starting to gear themselves up for the busy breeding season ahead. 

There is love in the air! Our visitors have witnessed courtship behaviour from various ducks such as the goldeneye, teal and the classic weed dance from the great crested grebes. 

Great crested grebe courtship - Graham Parry

Firecrests have been prominent across the reserve this year, but their favourite spot is outside of Firth hide where we've had lots of delighted visitors getting great views of these tiny birds.

Firecrest - Robin Johnson

The smew is still around, usually on Tanners pool by the gate to Denge Marsh off the main track - please do not park here, it's a tight bend and we need to be able to get large vehicles past. Please use the designated car parks by the visitor centre and at ARC. A female smew was also seen at ARC a couple of days ago.

We have hired an excavator to carry out some work around our reserve. It is currently at the ARC pits, removing the encroaching sea buckthorn plants to create bare sand habitat which will benefit a host of species including rare mosses and plants such as Jersey cudweed, as well as mining bees and wasps. Sea buckthorn is a spiky shrub with bitter orange berries. Although not invasive, they spread very quickly and can take over if not managed correctly. The excavator is helping to do this job quickly and has saved days of work by our warden and our reserve team. Thank you to Affinity Water who have funded the use of the excavator to carry out this important and much needed work.

Excavator work - Craig Edwards

  

Bee wolf - Dave Clarke

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