On the first Sunday of each month there is an opportunity for anyone interested in getting involved in some practical tasks, to help us maintain the reserve. Today was no exception and eight stalwart volunteers turned their hands to a variety of tasks, mostly it has to be said, cutting back, cutting down or up-rooting vegetation of some description. Several things on offer today were buddleia trimming, willow coppicing, bramble bashing and laying a hedge, all of which were completed with the exception of the bramble bashing which the recently dried out terrain made digging up the roots nigh on impossible. Thanks to all who helped.
Two bittern were showing well when we opened up the Ivy North Hide and a couple of visitors saw three birds from this hide a bit later.
They have an interesting technique of probing their beaks sideways into the flattened reeds to spook out a fish for breakfast/ lunch/ dinner. We saw yet another bird at the back of the settlement pond – so certainty three or maybe four are around.
Despite the somewhat Arctic conditions, temperature-wise, its getting towards that time of year when we will be loosing the bitterns (many of the ducks have already left), but can look forward to many other delights as the year progresses. There has already been a report of a little ringed plover having been seen from the Tern hide – possibly the first of our summer migrants.
Other birds much in evidence were treecreeper with several being seen by visitors and what was almost cerainly a ‘pair’ foraging together along the trees by the settlement pond. One visitor counted 26 lesser redpoll from the Woodland Hide together with brambling and siskin plus the usual collection of greenfinch, chaffinch plus blue and great tits
Signs of Spring are now pushing through with blossom and catkins on many trees, including this cherry blossom and alder catkins.