Meet Ryan, our returning residential volunteer to update you on what has been happening on the reserve. 

Hey all,

My name is Ryan and I’m back as a residential volunteer with the reserve team for another winter (my third… Where does the time go?!) after another busy season working as a Ranger on the nearby Blakeney Point. It is so good to be back in my favourite “over-wintering” spot of Titchwell and to get caught up with all the awesome work that has been happening across the reserve this year. I’d also like to say a big thank you to all the staff and volunteers for making me feel very welcome and for forgiving me for getting extremely lucky in seeing the elusive Little Bittern within about thirty seconds on my first day back… I should have bought a lottery ticket that day I think!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the reserve team with the programme of winter work in full flow. A big focus at this time of year is cutting back scrub and reed from deep within the reedbed – a spiky and soggy job but immensely satisfying knowing you are creating and maintaining an amazing habitat for a wide variety of wildlife to enjoy. One of the highlights of this was carrying out some experimental cutting of two areas behind Patsy’s Pool that appeared to be patches of old dry reed but when we cut them back they revealed two small pools and some interesting boggy areas – great looking habitat. This was especially rewarding when Matt Lonsdale (one of my fellow residential volunteers) saw a bittern drop into one of these new pools the next morning! Matt O’Connell has also been doing some top work cutting back the banks to help keep the reedbed channels open and free of bramble and willow.

Those who have visited Titchwell this week may also have seen the Truxor (an incredible amphibious reed-cutting contraption) floating around the reedbed or the fresh marsh, cutting back large amounts of reed around the border of the marsh, through the deep ditches and other places too deep to reach with brushcutters. This does mean we have cleared the reed in the fen hide, and straight away a bittern was seen fishing.  Top Tip – our wintering water pipits absolutely love these freshly cut edges, so always worth having a good look from the West Bank or Parrinder hide!

I’ve also been lucky enough to lead several guided walks including an enjoyable early-morning pink-footed goose walk at Snettisham – the geese sadly didn’t get my memo that they should fly east that morning, so we had more distant views than normal but even then, what an amazing spectacle. Adding to that a roosting short-eared owl and hunting kingfisher, both in the same scope view meant a great morning for everyone.

Looking forward to seeing you out and about on the reserve!

Ryan

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