From diving board removal to ringed plover monitoring it has been another varied week for the NW Norfolk Reserves team.
Beach nesting birds
We started and ended the week with some ringed plover monitoring. It may be the end of July, but our ringed plovers are still busy trying to rear their youngsters. At Titchwell we still have 3 pairs on eggs, that are due to hatch over the next week. Down at Snettisham there is one pair on eggs and a several pairs with small chicks. For this reason, we continue to ask people to keep dogs on leads and respect all signage found on the relevant reserve. Where nests are no longer active, we have been making a start to take down some of the rope cordons, and more will be coming down over the coming weeks.
Tweaking the water levels
As it is autumn wader passage season and the breeding season on the Freshmarsh is over, it is time to tinker with the water levels. During this time, I am constantly raising and lowering the water levels to create muddy edges and shallow water to enable the waders to feed and roost. Depending on the weather we can be adding or removing water on an almost daily basis. Towards the end of the week as the water levels lowered and the mud dried I have reopened a pipe to add a flush of water and it is currently look pretty nice out there.
A lick of paint
On Tuesday I was joined by a couple of our volunteers to carry on with repainting some of our benches around the wildlife garden continuing our work to make the place look fresher. We also spent some time clearing the paths around this area.
Diving board removal
In the middle of the week we headed to one of our confidential sites to once again remove a diving board that had been constructed on the edge of the lake and remove litter that had been left behind by trespasses. Whilst here we also carried out some fence repairs that acts a barrier to stop people entering.
Back at Titchwell we have a drying room for all our outdoor kit however it has become that cupboard under the stairs where you dump stuff to sort out at another date. Well that another date was this week! After clearing out the old wellies, uniform, painting equipment and moth traps we now have a much more user friendly space.
A search for unexploded ordnance
To let water off the Freshmarsh we have a pair of outlet pipes on the East Bank, however because of the flow of water off the Freshmarsh combined with tidal currents, there has been substantial amounts of erosion. This has caused our pipes to collapse and for us to make several repairs. But we are now in the position to make a permeant repair. However, as the area was used as a firing range a search for unexploded ordnance was conducted on Thursday to ensure the safety of our contractors when the diggers come on site towards the end of August / early September. Thankfully nothing was found on this occasion bar a rusty gate hinge.
In amongst the ringed plover and common tern monitoring, Jim has made a start strimming the paths once again. It is that time of year when it can feel like we are strimming our path network almost every week!
As the breeding season ends and the wader roosts begin to increase one task, we needed to complete was to repair the fallen down screen at South Hide. So, Hayley and Jim spent Wednesday afternoon rebuilding this to reduce disturbance to the birds on the pits as you approach the hide.
To end the week, I headed to Snettisham for the spring high tides to obtain some video footage. With the sun rising behind me and the tide pouring in, the waders were sparkling in the sky as they were pushed off the mudflats to roost within the pits. It was incredible spectacle with thousands and thousands of Dunlin and Knot pouring overhead. Follow this link to plan you visit to watch this spectacle https://bit.ly/2ZWyY2I
Waders over head, Les Bunyan
In amongst all this the reserve team have been supporting the Visitor Team welcome visitors to the reserve and overseeing the contractors on site who have been busy laying the paving slabs for the new Welcome Hub.
Hope you enjoyed the read and we look forward to welcoming you to our reserves soon
NW Norfolk Reserves Warden
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