Greetings from West Sedgemoor, which includes Swell Wood and Greylake.

As ever the end of 2018 was a busy one, although it became increasingly difficult to achieve maximum work efficiency while also eating as much cake and mince pies as possible. Despite this some major work was completed at the Fivehead end of the moor, and we were lucky enough to welcome residential volunteers from Aylesbeare and Arne who came over with a wonderful collection of power tools to give us a hand.

The second hide at Greylake has been recently wind proofed, no more cold legs while observing the large numbers of duck, lapwings, Canada geese and assorted raptors. This improvement is still on going, and will enable visitors to not only watch birds in front of the hide, but also see them fly over- head.

We have now started to focus our attention on woodland work at Swell and Chilly Copse, which includes creating protected coppice sections within the wood to help stimulate new and varied plant growth, which in turn should provide excellent habitats for a range of animals and birds.

6 marsh harriers were seen hunting all in a single binocular view at West Sedgemoor at the start of December, and a male hen harrier was also observed flying over on Christmas Eve. A grand total of 565 black tailed godwits have been seen at West Sedgemoor, which is a maximum figure for the reserve. 8 bearded tits in the reed bed at Greylake was another great recent sighting.

As a special Christmas treat, the staff at West Sedgemoor were given a guided tour around the farm of one of our local cattle farmers. This was not quite as random as it seems. We look after a number of herds of cattle for local farmers through the spring and summer, and this was a good chance for everyone to see how this fits into the bigger farming picture.

Hope you all had a splendid Christmas, and are refreshed and keen to continue making small but important contributions to the safe guarding of our great landscape and animals of all sizes and descriptions.

Here’s something you may wish to think about as you do this;

“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”

― Theodore Roosevelt