Matt, our winter conservation intern, provides an insight into what the reserve team have been up to. 


It’s been a busy last couple of weeks as the reserve team carries on with the winter work plan and deals with other issues that arise as and when. When not hampered by the rain we have been able to crack on with work and make progress that you can hopefully see for yourselves as your out and about on the reserve. But before we get into that lets introduce some new and familiar faces to the team. Matt number one will be joining us for the next five months as the conservation intern, fresh from Frampton Marsh, Matthew Lonsdale has returned for the next five months and we have a new volunteer called Jacob who will be working with us one day a week. 


Boardwalk repair: An issue that arose alongside our planned work was that the boardwalk required urgent repairs. Phase one, ripping up the old boardwalk, involved a lot of sledgehammer action and provided adequate stress relief. We were then able to build a more solid fountain underneath and carefully fit new planks, creating a solid and stable new boardwalk. The area affected by this work is the whole boardwalk from the turning to the Meadow Trail up to the Dragonfly Pond. We closed the area off to visitors, they are still able to access the Dragonfly Pond and much of the Meadow Trail via the West Bank route. Whilst working we were kept company by a friendly robin, had the yellow browed warbler (or plural!) calling around us and saw a kingfisher flash past on one occasion. Soon visitors will also be able to see these birds from the comfort of the new boardwalk!


Cutting on Freshmarsh: We have also been busy cutting the vegetation on the main freshmarsh island within the predator fence and cutting the reeds around the edge of the lagoon. We have now finished clearing the island and are making steady progress cutting the reeds along the edges. Both these things will help to create an ideal habitat for wintering and roosting ducks, geese and swans when the water levels are raised again. We have purposefully kept the water levels on freshmarsh low over the last couple weeks to allow us access to do this important habitat work. A big shout out all volunteers who turned up and helped us rake the cut vegetation on the main island, many hands make light work and we couldn’t have done it without you!

Other bits and bobs: Other bits and bobs. Yes, there is much else we have been getting on with over the last few weeks and we are a small team so have relied upon the help of our volunteers. We have mowed the long grass along East Trail from the entrance up to Willow Woods. This remains a great area for visitors to see thrushes feeding on the bramble hedgerows, marsh harriers over the reedbed and woodpeckers on the skeleton trees by the woods. With the help of a visiting group from the RSPB Conservation Science department we also painted Island Hide a new shade of grey which looks a lot better than it sounds and really fits in with the surrounding habitat. We have been doing our usual routine jobs including keeping the hides clear of litter and the windows sparkling, helping collect litter from beach cleans, doing surveys (20 roosting marsh harriers on the reedbed at the last count!) and strimming to tidy up the picnic area and wildlife garden. At all times, we have been on standby to help with events, maintenance across the reserve and any other incidences that may occur!

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading!