The Thursday volunteer gang were in yesterday and the main task was dragging some previously cut willow from the entrance track to the education centre north across Ellingham Drove, to the Tern Hide car-park. The willow was then stacked around the top of the banks that surround the car-park to prevent access to Ibsley Water from unwanted fishermen or trespassers from disturbing the birds. The team made quick progress despite the cold wind bowling across Ibsley Water and soon had the job completed allowing time for a few other tasks like trimming back around signs, gathering up old tree guards and layering a few willows in strategic places to block potential fishing sites.
The rest of the week has been spent doing a range of tasks including wrapping barbed wire around the top of gates to deter (you guessed it!) access from fishermen. We’ll never be able to completely stop them but we can do our best make things very difficult for them. Their illegal activities actually do a fair amount of environmental and ecological damage on the reserve, by ground baiting swims, disturbance to wintering wildfowl and ground nesting birds.
We also cleared away some fly tipped garden waste chucked over the reserve fence by the kissing gate and path that lead to the Goosander and Lapwing Hides. The waste included a nice lot of Buddleia seed heads, a plant which is an invasive species on the reserve.
Unfortunately this means more Wildlife Trust money wasted clearing up other peoples rubbish, rather than on wildlife conservation.
A more satisfying task was cutting a view into the ironically titled Clear Water pond (it is very murky!).
The Clear Water pond generally contains very few birds other than a few mallards and the odd moorhen but I have seen kingfishers and mandarin ducks in the past so it’ll be interesting to see what else turns up, I suspect a fair amount of things get missed.
Recent wildlife reports have included water rails on Ivy lake, white wagtail and 2 wheatears around Ibsley Water. Siskin are definitely increasing with around forty frequenting the large Alders by Ivy silt pond and I saw my first four Redwing of the autumn fly over the education centre today. There are also some fabulous mushrooms around reserve.