Now is the best time to cut back your woody vegetation and our volunteers have been hard at it in the last few weeks. Regular ‘coppicing’ is a vital part of our successful habitat management. It promotes healthy re-growth and flowering and benefits insect life. This in turn benefits the ecosystem in an overall holistic way.
We have a don’t have much time before the spring is here and the birds will want to start nesting again. It is imperative that we do this important work in this time frame, before true spring arrives. Once the birds start prospecting nest sites we are then unable to carry this work out. We have already noticed that some of birds are beginning to sing and it won't be long before the pink footed geese depart our shores for their breeding grounds in Iceland and Greenland. Soon afterwards we will begin to notice our breeding birds arriving back, chiff chaff, willow warbler, blackcap and wheatear often amongst the first spotted.
Whilst trees and shrubs are important, we have to be careful to maintain them at a level that is in keeping with our coastal wetland setting. Leaving them to run wild would not be conducive to the important habitat we strive to provide for the wildlife here. The marsh is a magnet for nesting wetland birds, many of whom are of red list conservation status. We manage the land and growth of the vegetation to protect them from predators, we need to avoid having too many trees that would attract nesting crows and magpies.
Of course, if it wasn’t for our human houses and gardens, the marshes would extend much further inland and the grazing animals and regular flooding would prevent the trees and shrubs from establishing themselves. Our human exploitations have already had a negative impact on the land, so we now work hard to remedy this, by providing a hospitable environment for these niche habitat birds to live and breed successfully.
Cutting back the trees and shrubs has a multifaceted benefit, it also helps our smaller birds and insects. It creates a thick tangle of small branches which are ideal for protecting ground level nests such as wrens and robins from the attentions of the local cats and magpies.
If you would like to help us out and join our volunteer team do get in touch. It’s a great way to keep healthy, meet people and learn more about wildlife. For more information about our opportunities then click here. We are looking for a wide variety of volunteers on both sides of the estuary. So if you or anyone you know is looking for a new challenge then why not check out our page?
Black tailed godwits on the cover by Wes
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