Taking Stock and Tidying Up

Sunday, March 25th 2018

Coming into the Reserve this morning in bright sunshine and light wind made a pleasant change from some of the weather over the past few weeks.  Only 7 days ago, the temperature was struggling to get above freezing during the day so being well above that today made it feel like Spring has really arrived.  However, the forecast for a return to snow and ice in the middle of the week and potentially for the Easter weekend means that we still have to plan for bad weather.

First on the list of things to do today was take a delivery of hay bales.  We now have a good supply for Lark and Taurus if the weather gets really bad, and this gave me a chance to sweep out and tidy the store before stacking the bales.  There is clearly some new growth on the Moorland as both ponies were contentedly eating about 100 metres apart from each other and took no notice this morning when I got to the Moorland gate.  At first they were happy to carry on grazing before the penny dropped that there might be the odd piece of apple for them.

Thanks to John Graves, one of our volunteers, who came in this morning to fit a new section of pipe to the tap outside the portakabin so that we now have a tap again rather than a fountain, before going for a walk around the Reserve with his wife.

Checking the ponds that had been the scene of busy frog activity last week shows that the spawn laid has survived the frosts of the latter part of last week, with only a few small clumps so far showing signs of being damaged, so most looks like it remains viable. 

Walking through Risedale Beck always gives the chance to admire the wonderful Ash trees in this area.  There are some beautiful examples of older trees and a favourite is this one, which shows that a tree doesn't need to have all its heartwood to keep on growing.  The contrast beween this tree, the young sapling in the foreground and the moss-covered rotting wood between the two almost sums up the life cycle of a tree.

Having cut back a number of net rides, the end products are not only some freshly pollarded trees but also logs and usually a fire site.  Now that the fire site in this net ride is cold, the log pile has been moved to cover it over, so that the area where the logs were piled can now grow and the area around the site will grow to cover the edges of the burnt area.

The work on aftercare of trees planted around the Reserve continues.  These two Birch trees were leaning at an angle of 45 degrees and were completely filling the tubes they had been planted in.  The tubes have now been removed and the trees re-staked using rubber tree ties and, due to the size of the Birch trees, they have been double staked.

Having been out to  check the frog spawn earlier in the day, it was a little surprising to return to the Field Centre to find an unusual visitor leaving the building.  I can only assume that there had been a need for a quick check of the map to make sure that she was going in the right direction.

We try to keep a record of both volunteers and visitors on the Reserve each day.  I'm really not sure which of those two columns on the record sheet I'm going to record this one in.


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