To counter my previous post which was a little sad I thought I should post a few pictures of life returning to the reserve following the dormancy of winter. So here they are:-
My trail camera on the large pond picked up a new visitor last night, an Otter!
I never expected to see an otter on the pond so quickly after it was constructed. It was only a fleeting view but very satisfying.
Sadly when I arrived on the reserve this morning there was a body floating on the main pond!
I had to wait until the wind blew it to shore before I discovered what it was. There was a Little Grebe feeding on the pond and sadly it looks like it’s partner may have hit the power lines which partly cross the pond.
I eventually got around to beginning the painting of the classroom, only about 2 years after I intended. I decided to base the colour scheme on my camo trousers and I’m happy to take any comments, good or bad! I have done one wall with the intention of completing the rest in the same style, unless the people speak and say NO!!
This week the pupils from Collingwood school have been helping on the Reserve.
On Tuesday Ethan, Jake and teacher Ben helped put up a fence/screen, at Dunces Corner Hide, using pallets and Reed.
Today we had a class of 8 and they helped with putting wood chips on a path.
A good bit of work before they start their two week Easter break.
The last two days our frogs and toads have been croaking there hearts out. Lots of amphibian activity so hopefully a good crop of spawn!
Noise from all three ponds so that’s a good sign, I’ll keep my eyes open and try and keep Mr & Mrs Heron from hoovering the pond!
Thanks to Geoff the fencer for a fine job putting in about 300m of stock fence at the Southern boundary of the reserve. An even bigger thanks to Ross Blackburn at RBB for sponsoring the fence.
Hopefully it will keep the scrambler bikes, atv’s and dog walkers out of the reserve at this end. It might save a few of our ground nesting birds such as snipe, woodcock, wren, grey partridge and pheasant which are in the reserve at the moment.
Its amazing what a Ceasar salad wrap can attract!!
Many thanks to Clare at Collingwood School for arranging the funding, through Morrisons Community Fund, for our spanking new classroom roof.
Thanks to David Swannell and his crew for doing a grand job installing the roof.
No more buckets in the middle of the classroom when it rains, hurrah!
Due to some local building works a quantity of excavated sand was dumped near the reserve. I didn’t want this to go to waste so the builders and my landlord farmer were happy for me to use the sand.
We have ringed Sand Martin on site during last years ringing sessions so I decided to attempt to construct my own nesting embankment. So hopefully if they visit the site they may choose to stay.
I built a containment structure for the sand.
The initial idea was to surround this enclosure with soil prior to filling with sand. This plan, however, had to change when my friendly farmer(David Dungait) had a big digger with driver available to move the sand. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity so we got our sand a bit earlier than I was prepared for!
So then the next step is to build up the banking around the sand, top this with soil and cut a vertical sand face at the front. Then we’ll put in 12 nesting tunnels (drainpipe) they need to be at least 60cm long and filled with sand with a nesting chamber at the end.
Due to the weather, snow stopped work, this project is on hold. Hopefully when the weather relents we can continue on.
Although we haven’t quite got to the finishing cover of soil our nesting bank I now ready to accept residents. We had a small group of 8 swallows over the pond in the last few days so hopefully the Sand Martin’s will not be too far behind.
Final landscaping may have to wait until after the nesting season. So it will be interesting to see if we get any takers this season!