Hello everyone!

Our Residential Volunteer, Ryan, is back again this week with a summary of some of the things the wardening team have been up to this week. Over to you Ryan:

Hello again,

Happy New Year and welcome to another reserve update. In light of this week’s newest lockdown (third times the charm?!), I just wanted to send my best wishes to everyone and I hope everyone keeps happy and healthy for this coming year.

It is great news that both of our reserves at Titchwell and Snettisham are remaining open (trails and car parks only) for local people to get out and enjoy some time in the fresh air surrounded by nature – a much needed tonic to life in lockdown. It also means that the wardening team are able to continue with our planned work and so we have been getting stuck back into the winter workplan after our Christmas break, as well as working through a very long list of odd jobs and readying the reserves for the new lockdown.

At Titchwell, the biggest task this week saw Lizzie and I brushcutting bramble and reed along the series of banks that run through the reedbed, which will allow easier access for the team planning for the upcoming redesign of the freshwater habitats. It also helps keep the banks in good repair as too much scrub can cause damage to the banks, leading to unwanted leaks.

Lizzie and myself also spent a very interesting afternoon searching for tracks and signs to help us build a better picture of all the wildlife that is using the reserve, especially mammals as they are rarely seen because some are nocturnal, others great at hiding and some that are just tiny! The highlight was some beautiful badger tracks in the soft mud of the saltmarsh – tracks left by the wide shovel-like forepaws are unmistakable, just perfectly designed for digging! We also found several bank vole holes and a whole lot of both muntjac and Chinese water deer slots, even out in the saltmarsh.

These boots are made for digging! Pic. Lizzie Bruce

To finish the week I carried out the co-ordinated Norfolk pink-footed goose count at a very frosty Snettisham, however, the fog defeated me yet again (the third time this winter!) as although the visibility was actually pretty good early on, the geese where obviously not very keen to get out of bed this morning, with the majority of the flock still roosting on the mud at 11 o’clock! As the morning went on the fog got heavier and heavier until I could no longer see them. Another count is being organised for next week.. Fingers crossed for good visibility!

Fog and frozen toes, a great wintery morning! Pic. Ryan Doggart

A safety and security check on one of our confidential reserves before heading back to Titchwell completed my adventures on Friday. Disappointingly, while carrying out the checks, I found some evidence of trespassing and fence damage. We'll be back here shortly to repair the damage and continue our frequent checks.

Thanks for reading!

All the best

Ryan

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