As mentioned in an earlier blog post we started the week with our monthly WeBS counts at Titchwell (click here) for the sightings) followed by some pruning of the stray bramble and willow encroaching on to the paths.
Autumn Trail preparation
As we rapidly move into August it is time for us to open the seasonal Autumn Trail during peak wader passage. This trail is only accessible for a few months of the year in between the end of the marsh harrier breeding season and the large winter roost of marsh harriers that occurs on the reserve.
As you can tell by the photos after a year of not being used it is somewhat of a jungle, therefore myself and Jim spent a couple of days this week cutting back ready for the 1st August. We will keep this path open until 31st October.
This is a great extension to our quieter East Trail that provides improved viewing of the Freshmarsh in the morning, but it is also great for dragonflies. Whilst we have been out working on this path, we have seen banded demoiselle, common darter, emperor and black-tailed skimmer dragonflies.
Island Hide preparation
We are pleased to say that the swallows that were nesting in Island Hide have fledged three youngsters. Before we can reopen the hide we are working our way through a number of repairs that we haven’t been able to do due to working restrictions. This week, Les, one of our volunteers replaced some of the interior panels that had rotten.
We hope to have the hide reopened some time next week once we have cleared the overgrown vegetation.
On Wednesday the team met at Snettisham for the annual task of pulling Sticky Groundsel from the roost bank. The huge numbers of dunlin and knot that Snettisham is famous for are pushed onto the pits on the big high tides, but they won’t roost on the bank when it is covered in vegetation. Therefore, at the end of July each year a team of us will pull the Sticky Groundsel to reveal the shingle. It has now been piled up ready to be burnt once it has dried.
Whilst we were pulling the Sticky Groundsel we discovered even more Red Hemp Nettle, an incredibly scarce plant that is now restricted to only a dozen sites in the England due to the loss of arable weeds in our landscape.
Breeding season….nearly over
At Snettisham the beach nesting birds (ringed plovers and oystercatchers) are nearly finished for this year’s season. With no more active nests we have removed the beach cordons that were protecting the nests from human disturbance. However, some of these birds do still have unfledged chicks running about so watch where you step.
Snettisham odd jobs
Whilst removing the beach cordons Jim and Hayley repaired some fencing that had been vandalised. The fencing is in place to prevent access on to the sea wall where there is no public right of way.
They also installed a new sign to help the increasing number of visitors to the reserve navigate their way around the pits, reducing disturbance to the birds that are using the pits.
With Knots Landing almost finished Jim and Hayley started planning on where the new section of boardwalk will be installed to lead you to the hide. For more information on Knots Landing click here.
Well I that’s about covered the main things we have up to but as the busy summer season continues you will also find us supporting the visitor operations team, managing our social media accounts and catching up with our admin tasks.
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NW Norfolk Reserves Warden
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