Recent visitors to the second screen at the reedbed will have noticed our luxury Tern raft has been re-launched and according to our common tern population this was just in time!

Myself, Fergus, Matthew and Ian spent a splendid morning (wader-clad) bathing in the reedbed and cleaning all the stones on the raft (that’s right – CLEANIING ALL THE STONES ON THE RAFT!!!). Fergus and Ian stood up on the raft and shovelled the stones into garden riddles which myself and Matthew then shook underwater to clean. As we were doing this 2 common terns were circling over head calling so we all felt the need to get on with it! Nobody likes being hassled by the client.

Ian shovels, Fergus is distracted, Matthew takes the photo while I riddle in the reedbed. 

Once we’d cleaned the stones we tipped them back on to the raft and then raked them out to cover it. We put out a few clay tiles and pipes (managing to convince Matthew not to pursue his Japanese Zen garden design) which will provide cover for chicks and then, in scenes reminiscent of Three Men in a Boat (except there were only two of us in the boat for health and safety reasons....) we pushed the really, really REALLY heavy raft out to the middle of the lagoon with our battery operated punt (against the prevailing wind I hasten to add).

To me, to you (above) and (below) the finished product (we removed the gloves and rake before we left).

We also fixed a small electric fence around the raft to deter any predators and then attached it to links on concrete blocks in the lagoon so it will be held in place.

The next morning I was on the reserve early and after being entertained by two purrrrring turtle doves that have returned (along the Roman road and on the bridleway by Greenaways), reeling grasshopper warblers, erratic calls of sedge warblers and Cetti’s and cuckooscuck-ooing” I was happy to see that two common terns were sat contentedly on the raft. I hope they keep it clean!