At Greylake we have had some lovely sightings of hares, water rails, redshank and a pair of cranes flying over the hide and landing just out of sight. Lapwing, snipe and various ducks can be seen within close proximity to the hide. Listen out for redshank calling and watch bearded tit feeding in the reed beds. There have been at least 5 great white egrets on the reserve. This last week or two has seen the reserve getting wetter and wetter though and we're desperately trying to offload some of the water. This will definitely delay the breeding season for some of our birds.
Greylake looking a bit on the damp side, but beautiful (David Miller)
On our March survey we had an exciting encounter with an otter fishing whilst completing Wetland Bird Counts. Curlews can be heard 'bubbling' across the moors now - the UK is an internationally important country for both breeding and wintering populations. An exciting curlew project is currently being undertaken in conjunction with the RSPB curlew recovery programme to look at their distribution across the Somerset levels and moors.
We have been making excellent progress coppicing hazel at Chilly Copse (Fivehead) thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of our excellent day volunteers. We have connected two small coppice plots to create a larger one and over time the wide variety of age structures we are creating will improve the woodland for dormice, ground nesting birds and invertebrates, particular butterflies and moths which require a wide variety of food plants and pupation sites. The extra light will give a big boost to the woodland flowers too. Elsewhere we've been planting saplings (mainly blackthorn) in to the gaps of the hedges we've been laying to keep the site in good condition for brown hairsteaks.
Finally come along and visit Swell Wood, the largest heronry in the South West to see over 100 herons nesting in the spring. There are no young yet as the cold weather has set them back a bit. This morning we saw for the first time that little egrets have returned to the heronry. It is also worth taking a walk along the woodland trails for the excellent views across the Somerset levels and moors.
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