and relax…

Half-term and a bank holiday week to boot so typically the weather has not been the best – and as such for the most part there have been very few visitors making it out to the reserve until today when the first glimmer of sunshine for a few days has bought in reasonable numbers, including a large number of families which is always nice to see.

Still very windy this morning, though it has dropped off a bit now. The path between Ivy North Hide and the Woodland Hide remains closed due to the dodgy tree that Bob mentioned in his previous blog. Surprisingly both the Lower Test volunteer team who were in on Friday and Jackie who had a wander today, found very little else down to worry about, other than a few branches and lots of leaves and twigs, with the exception of a hefty piece of oak from the top of a tree at the southern end of Ellingham Lake that Jackie found this morning. A bit large for tackling on her own we took a look together when she came back to the centre for lunch and I’m pleased to say that a bit of brute strength and ignorance on my part managed to clear and move it from the main trunk of the tree it had fallen and wedged itself upon.

The lack of disturbance around the currently barred Ivy North / Woodland Hide track may explain why I saw a roe doe with her two kids in the woodland clearing outside the Woodland Hide that we use for our “minibeasting” activities with the children. I missed photographing them, but I did moments later enjoy lovely views of another roe doe browsing on the wetland vegetation from Ivy North Hide:

Roe deer from Ivy North Hide

There is also something jolly and uplifting about the ox-eye daisies that abound around the nature reserve (as well as all the major local trunk roads!) at the moment – I don’t know if it is the mass of bright colour, or the way they nod in the slightest of breeze (or gales as it has been the last couple of days!), but I do find them uplifting:

Still a bit too windy and generally overcast today for dragonflies, but the damselflies were all dancing in and out of the vegetation here and along the paths, and relatively easily approached in the cooler weather than they can be. A few grass snakes were also out and about again today, particularly one of the larger females that has been habitually basking on the log at the back of the centre dipping pond. I spent much of the day catching up after a somewhat gruelling week of half-term activities, including a visit by Ofsted yesterday. The weather could have been a lot better, particularly on Thursday when Michelle was soaked to the bone after two back to back morning and afternoon river dipping sessions (the latter of which hastily became a pond dip as the river rose and rose and rose with the heavy rainfall!) but nothing was actually cancelled, just adapted according to the conditions. Wednesday and Friday were our “Wild Days Out” – with a campfire and den building theme and all went well despite the weather and looming presence of an Ofsted Inspector (somewhat of an exaggeration. The expectation is always far worse than the actuality and, anyway, I am very pleased to say that we met their exacting standards with only a couple of suggestions for minor improvements, which were fair enough. And you know they have to find something!).  So today, as I write this and reflect on those daisies and a job well done I can indeed relax, at least for a little while:  

 …it all kicks off with schools again next week!         







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