Reports of the mealy redpoll yesterday meant that there were birdwatchers here before me, and a few people reported having seen it during the day. Other woodland birds in evidence are at least two brambling, nuthatch, greater-spotted woodpecker, lesser redpoll, siskin, goldfinch and the usual other finches and tits, with lots of song from all around including chiff-chaff at two locations.
Whilst opening up the hides it as delightful(?) to see a couple of roe deer browsing along the path leading to Ivy South Hide.
When I say delightful, I mean in the sense of nice to see them, but as a species they do give us problems on the reserve by browsing off re-growth from coppiced areas of hazel and willow. These two were amazingly co-operative in allowing me to get close enough to photograph them. They were aware that I was there, but, obviously enjoying what they were eating, reluctant to move off. I’d like to think that they were, perhaps, nibbling back some of the bramble re-growth along the side of the path, and as it’s that time of year when we have to start trimming bramble back if the paths are to remain navigable, they might have been saving me a job – but no. I spent a good few hours cutting back and pulling out bramble. Pulling is harder work, but more satisfying and effective in the long run, Fortunately a lot of the soil is light and sandy so it was possible to uproot some quite sizeable plants.
Yes I know brambles are a superb plant providing nectar for insects and the berries are food for a number of birds, but their unfortunate habit of encroaching on the paths means that some of them just have to go…….