Hi there everyone,
Thanks to a beautiful sunny Bank Holiday Monday, we have had a fairly short 4-day week here at the Exe Estuary Reserves. However, there is always plenty to do and we have enjoyed several long days in the sunshine on the reserves. Cutting and baling continues along the and we are making good progress in terms of this grassland management. One of the main things with cutting and baling is drying out the cut grass before baling it. Luckily, an abundance of sunshine has allowed us to do this and we are now steadily working our way around the reserves clearing up the edges of the fields where the tractor was unable to reach.
Work on the wildlife garden at Bowling Green Marshes is going well with wildlife friendly features being added all the time. Our most recent addition is a stumpery towards the Northern end of the garden. This feature is essentially a standing dead wood pile which with a few hours of effort to complete creates a beautiful and interesting garden feature which provides a home for creatures such as insects, centipedes and worms alongside several species of fungi. By using a mixture of species including soft and hard woods, each log will break down over a different period of time ensuring that there is always a good supply of decomposing wood. Amazingly enough, a tree can support more life after it has died than it could when it was alive. Due to this, building a stumpery or a dead log or wood pile is an excellent way to use excess or waste wood whilst providing a home for nature. We used a mixture of old logs from around the reserve as well as recycling timber from old fences and pieces of infrastructure. If you are planning on recycling, just make sure to check what type of wood you are using as some woods are treated to prevent decomposition.
Work on Turf path is nearly complete and is looking wonderful. This newly surfaced path should make access to the reserve a lot easier especially in the winter months when flooding can occur and we have already have several visitors comment on how happy they are with the changes. The wildlife in the area seems to approve of the work as well as I have seen several common lizards basking out on the path. The next area within the reserve to receive resurfacing will be the Exminster Marshes car park which due to several potholes caused over winter, we will be very happy to see resurfaced.
We have continued to be lucky with our bird sightings over the last week with birds of prey such as a Hobby, Marsh Harrier and Osprey being seen over our reserves. We were particularly happy yesterday to see several yellow wagtails and Wheatears on Exminster. As passage migrants on their way to Africa for the winter, Wheatears with their characteristic black cheek and orange breast are a very welcome sight indeed. I am happy to say that the spoonbill sighted at Bowling Green Marsh seems reluctant to leave us and has been a regular visitor to the marsh, delighting guests with its unusual appearance. With only 4 pairs breeding in the UK, this bird is a great sighting. With so much wonderful wildlife around in the Exe Estuary Reserves, I would highly recommend coming down for a visit and seeing what you can find yourself.
Until next time,
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