Friday, July 24th 2020
Behind the scenes, a lot of hard work goes into maintaining the net rides for the CES (Constant Effort Scheme) bird ringing. This would not be possible without the assistance of the conservation volunteers. The ringing begins at dawn and the ringers (also volunteers) put the nets out while it is still dark just before sunrise. Their task is made a lot easier when the net rides are clear and everything is in place. This week, regular volunteers helped with preparations such as strimming and mowing along the main routes.
They also pruned back any overhanging vegetation that may get caught up and tangled in the mist nets. Nets cost the team around £100 each and every effort is made to minimise damage to them. With all of the recent sunshine and showers there has been a lot of new growth especially on the willow.
Bird feeders were also filled; the large wooden hoppers around the reserve contain the waste chaff from combine harvesters. It is a great source of food for finches such as Bullfinches and Chaffinches. With 9 of these giant feeders to top up it takes a while to do!
Even the poles that support the mist nets received a dab of oil to make sure they are easy to take apart in the dark. The small jobs like this make a huge difference to the smooth running of the ringing activities on the day and are greatly appreciated.
Away from the net rides, the waymarkers on the green trail are gradually being replaced with new ones. This is the longest trail at Foxglove and there are around 50 posts to guide visitors along the way (additional ones are being installed to avoid confusion in the woodland and up on the moor). Each one is carefully concreted into place which means carrying post cement, water, spades as well as the heavy posts themselves and of course the most important tool; the spirit level!
Thank you to everyone for all of your hard work in the less than perfect weather conditions!
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