‘Many Hands Make Light Work!’

Tuesday, March 15th 2016

It was a dullish day, duller due to it following such a beautiful day yesterday, a slight drizzle dampened the reserve but not the enthusiasm of our Tuesday volunteers, always a chance to get things done which by yourself would be a mega undertaking.

Today was exceptional, over 20 volunteers came in to lend a hand, from clearing up brushwood to cutting the Phragmites near the pond dipping areas. They were everywhere like ants, beavering away with their given tasks.

The initial job was to finish clearing and burning brushwood from last weeks chain sawing; one team carried to the burnsite, one team cleared the old burn site, and a few waited for Brian to get the fire started .

With the fire started the team piled last weeks cut wood on, then swept up the board walks by the Lake Hide bridge and tidied the old fire site below before moving onto the pond dipping area where we were clearing the old Phragmites or Common Reed, (Latin name Phragmites australis), to encourage fresh regrowth.

So I donned the waders, and cut the deeper pond around one of the dipping stations to allow access for the school educational visits coming up next month. I was pleased on my return to the site that a male Reed Bunting was moving through the reed about a foot from the water. That is the reason we do not cut all the reed, as it does form a haven for life outside of the summer months.  Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and development, has resulted in the disappearance of many of the UK's wetlands including important reedbeds. Unsuitable management or neglect can result in a reedbed drying out;  if the reeds are not cut regularly, the habitat will be invaded by willow scrub and will eventually become a wet woodland.

Of course with all the cutting we had to remove the arisings to the fire site . This stuff does not burn well in these damp conditions but the fire from earlier still had a good heat for us to use .

Meanwhile, while all the hustle and bustle was going on John was giving the trailer and ATV a well earned pressure wash, so at least we can service them without the caked on mud.

At the other end of the reserve the contractors had arrived with their mini digger to re-do some of the path surfaces which had seen better days.

It all felt a little like spring cleaning, the prep before the reserve kicks into action, or bloom!

To complete the day we finally finished planting the saplings which we had dug out last week. A busy day which was made all the easier due to Foxglove Covert Volunteers, a big thank you!

The Moth Trap went out this evening, I have great hopes to beat last week's total of 'none', it feels milder, no frost forecast, so fingers crossed, especially whilst bird ringing at Bellflask on Sunday the chap there had caught at least a dozen species… grrrrr!


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