Stoatally Awesome

A strange squealing in the undergrowth stopped me in my tracks, further investigation revealed our local Stoat collecting his next meal (poor bunny). I watched this amazing little animal drag the bunny (bigger than itself) a good 100 metres. It even dragged it over a large log pile, across a road, to its larder under a brush heap.

Unfortunately I found out that the owner of the brush heap was due to burn it that evening. I had previously spotted another likely Stoat bolt hole nearby so I set up a camera to see if the Stoat escaped the burn. Thankfully as you can see below, it appears to be in rude health, so watch out all you little bunnies!

VIP VISITORS ARRIVE ON THE RESERVE

There are just under 400 pairs of these birds in the UK and we were very privileged to receive a visit from one of these pairs yesterday and today.

A very fine pair of Marsh Harriers appeared over the reserve and then spent at least one night here. Last seen at 13.30 today.

My big pond birds all ganged up on one of the Harriers that landed near a Little Grebe nest. Amazing to see all these different species coming together to see off the Harrier!

Just a quick update, our Harriers are still around after 4 days which is encouraging and today there was evidence of possible nest building activity. See below:-

New Arrivals

Well its that time of the year when something new arrives on the reserve every few days. Below are some pics of those that have arrived over the last week or so.

Chiff Chaff feeding
Willow Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler
Male Blackcap
Easter bunny
Fledged Tree Sparrows
Swallow

We also have both pairs of Swans and Canada Geese sitting on eggs, so fingers crossed.

Mummy Deer and family

It looks like our resident Doe is pregnant again, so fingers crossed we will have the pitter patter of tiny hooves!

Its about this time of year that she parts company with (or more accurately spends a lot less time with) her youngsters from last year. I have picked them all up on my trail cameras so here are a couple of short clips of ‘the family’.

I also have a clip of a very handsome mature buck, maybe daddy!

Rooms with a view

Thomas and Josh, have done a fab job converting a kids toy house into a multi occupancy bird house. Lets hope the tree sparrows appreciate all the work that went into the conversion!

The house has six separate rooms accessed via the windows around the house, lets hope they can find the way in.

Watch the birdie

This beautiful bird was caught during our recent bird ringing session, this is a Snipe of which we have several resident on site at the moment. A very secretive bird which is, although not uncommon, is not seen very often.

Unfortunately we also discovered a dead Woodcock in the reedbed, no signs of trauma so not sure what the cause of death was. Another magnificent bird with stunning plumage.

Treemendous Weekend s Work

A very big thank you to all my helpers that came together last weekend to plant over 400 trees and hedging plants kindly donated by the woodland Trust.

We planted hedging along the boundary of the farm road, with dog rose, dogwood, hawthorn, hazel and elder.

We replaced some of the Ash trees that have been lost due to Ash die back with Silver Birch, Oak and Rowan.

On the new extension of the reserve we have planted goat willow, downy birch and oak. We have also planted an avenue of crab apple and cherry along the perimeter of the proposed new path. This will provide a corridor for birds to cross what was an open meadow.

So once again thanks to Libby, Fiona, Jack, Steve, Rose, Dom, Matthew, Aileen, Ronan , Toby, Linda, Jamie, Sammi, Angus, Ian and Louise.

Fiona and Jack in action
Linda’s Good work
Crab Apple and Cherry Avenue

School Run

Its been a very busy week on the reserve with nearly 100 of Collingwood Schools students visiting. I had a request to help with the nature part of the forest school curriculum.

Thanks to Gavin and Rebecca, the teachers, and various teaching assistants who kept the youngsters under control , almost ;0)

Feeding the swans/ducks and plodging in the mud seemed to be the favourite activities, not sure that’s on the curriculum but why not!

Nature reserve construction and development