Latest update from Residential Volunteer Conservation Intern Matt O'Connell

The week began with an impressive count of Marsh Harriers, as part of a coordinated harrier count organised by the BTO: a conservative 90 marsh harriers were counted rising from their roost here at Titchwell, plus one hen harrier. The reserves team and volunteers took part in this survey, which involved being on the reserve at first light and using vantage points to get an accurate count of marsh harriers getting up out of the reedbed. We then proceeded to complete our monthly WeBS count, counting all the waders, wildfowl and geese on the reserve. 

After the excitement of counting harriers, we got back to habitat management work. This week we carried on cutting reed in the main reedbed, clearing ditches and raking the cut reeds into neat piles (that attracted lovely stonechats to keep us company!) We used brush cutters to cut an area of reed behind Patsy’s pool that is not visible from any path but below are some pictures of how we got on.


Photos by Matt O'Connell

We also carried on with scrub clearance this week. We cleared willow from the reedbed banks running parallel to the beginning of West Bank path. We also cpushed back willow that was encroaching onto the fen and opened up the viewing area some more near the start of the meadow trail.

This week we also began the fiddly task of fixing the Parrinder hide windows. We successfully fixed one window, and now that we have got the knack of it, we should be able to crack on fixing the others without too much delay. With a complex design of ropes and levers it did feel like an episode of the crystal maze at times! We were encouraged on, however, by the sound of hundreds of whistling teal from the fresh marsh.  We have now started to lower the water levels on Fresh marsh so that we can fix the predator fence around the island in the next few weeks.

Aside from the above we have been carrying on with our regular jobs this week which include leading guided walks, cleaning the hides, collecting beach litter and maintaining our machinery and equipment. Mostly importantly, there has been lots of presents and good wishes exchanged at the office, and plenty of chocolate consumed!  Happy Holidays to everyone and see you in the new year!


Written by Matthew O’Connell (volunteer conservation intern)