View to a thrill

Thanks to our drone enthusiast, John, we have some new views of the reserve.

Entrance and Deer view hide
Vera’s shed and Woggle water pond
Dunces corner pond and hide
Contemplation corner

Gives a real ‘Birds Eye’ view of the reserve

Lunchtime Companion

I sat down for lunch today and was pleasantly surprised to see this impressive character below sitting outside the hide:-

It hopped down into the reeds and sat there for about 15 minutes before being tempted by a Reed Bunting that came too close when he gave chase (ultimately unsuccessful).

Scouts Honour

Many thanks to Northumberland Scouts who helped plant 120 trees, this weekend, supplied by the Woodland Trust. They were so efficient at planting we also had time left for them to do some path maintenance as well.

The scouts are off, later this year, to a camp in Iceland. Due to the travel involved the scouts wanted to off set their carbon footprint by planting some trees.

Some of the crew below relaxing after their shift.

Fight Night

I had not seen a Tree Sparrow fight before and I was surprised how intense they were. These two sparrows were going ‘hammer and tongs’ for over 15 minutes!

I wasn’t aware that these birds were that aggressive to each other or maybe I just captured an unusual disagreement between rivals!

You’ll be glad to know that both birds seemed to survive intact at the end of the contest.

Toad in the Hole

I got a nice surprise when I arrived at the reserve yesterday, Porters Pond was teeming with Toads.

Its that time of the year when they have come back to their pond of choice to breed.

So following all this activity I am hopeful to have a good crop of toadlets in a few weeks time!

Investing in a Hedge Fund

We had good news today regarding our application for funding complete hedging of the reserve. Our application was approved on Friday from the Great Northumberland Forest scheme.

This means we have a grant of £14,741 to plant and establish trees as detailed in our application.

So the plan would be to start planting this coming autumn. I will be putting a call out for willing tree planters in autumn😀. It is very gratifying that Northumberland County Council are actually putting funding to match there environmental objectives.

Pond watchers

This Heron has been seen regularly on our three ponds over the last 10 days. They seem to be interesting in hoovering up my frogs, toads, and newts!

I’m afraid this poor little newt didn’t stand a chance!

Our local sparrowhawks have been very active around the reserve

These images of the Herons, Kestrel, and Sparrowhawks were all taken around Woggle Water pond in the middle of the reserve

Deer Assault?

I came across our resident Doe with her youngster. As soon as I started taking photos it was clear that the youngster had some significant injury between its shoulder blades. This was obviously concerning, however, the youngster appeared to be behaving normally and the injury did not seem to be causing it much distress.

These images were taken on the 14th of February. With the size of the wound, and its location, my assessment would be a dog attack. The wound looks too big to be caused by barbed wire or some such item. I’m not sure of any other animal that would cause this sort of damage in that location. Male antlers are just growing at this time of year, so its very unlikely that another buck caused this damage.

I came across the mother and the youngster again last night (23/2/23) and the wound appears to be healing. So fingers crossed the youngster is going to survive the injury.

An interesting characteristic of the youngsters horn buds is there V configuration which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

I may also be jumping to conclusions but looking at mum I think she may be carrying a new batch of kid(s). Of course she may just have been eating well over the winter!

The youngster did do a little bird watching in-between feeding sessions.

Boxing Clever

We now have our first Barn Owl box on a post, located at the wet meadow in the eastern end of the reserve.

Hopefully this well appointed ‘des res’ will meet the requirements of our feathered friends!

As it nearly killed my wife Libby when we tried to lift it onto the post (its very heavy), I hope something does use it!

The white object on the front of the box is a solar powered camera, which will be relocated, in case the owls are camera shy!

That sinking feeling

We do have a slightly worrying development at the large pond, which is causing a bit of concern. A significant hole/sink hole has appeared at the side of the pond, appearing on Monday.


The post in the ground is showing the hole is about 3 feet deep, there is a patch of ground approximately 10 feet by 10 feet around the post that has dropped at least 3 feet.


Our theory is that it is ground above the large drainage pipe that runs under the reserve, carrying runoff from Coopies lane Industrial Estate, that has been undermined and collapsed. We will be doing some exploratory excavations next week to see what we can find. Until then my pond is trickling into the hole!!!

Nature reserve construction and development