It has actually brightened up over the course of this morning, but despite the first of the wild daffodils flowering outside the Woodland Hide and the fact that the smooth newts are arriving back at the centre pond (I only know this because from my office window I watched a kingfisher sitting on a perch bashing 7 bells out of one an hour ago!), it really didn’t feel very spring like at all while opening up and filling the bird feeders.
Currently the main car park and all of the hides are open with the exception of Goosander Hide which remains closed until a replacement lock has been received from the manufacturer and fitted. Two of the footpaths around the reserve are blocked or partially blocked by fallen tree’s (see below). More rain means the ground is going to be even more water logged and we risk even more tree’s being uprooted. Pictured below are photo’s of the some of the recent casualties:
Unfortunately, because of the danger posed by the downed power line near the entrance on Tuesday morning, we had to cancel our “Wild Days Out” activity day for 8-12 year olds. Disappointing for them of course, but also for us as the beginning of the recession a couple of years ago saw the number of children booking on to what had been incredibly popular days plummet, but numbers over the last 6 months have been steadily creeping back up and this February half-term had seen bookings back up to their pre-crash levels. Hopefully no one has been put off and we will see everyone back again at Easter.
On the other hand yesterdays Wild Days Out for 5-7 year olds, fully booked (with a reserve list!) was able to go ahead – and it didn’t even rain! The theme for the day was birds and bird watching and it does seem that we may have taught them something by the end of the day, judging by the discussions that some of the children were having with their parents as they left! Visits to Tern Hide and the Woodland Hide, duck identification games and bird feeder making (a very sticky activity that we were very glad to be doing outside in the sunshine rather than in the centre classroom!) were supplemented and complimented beautifully by the presence of Kevin Sayer and his bird ringing team, allowing the children a privileged close encounter with a siskin and a couple of treecreepers.
The highlights for the children? Lunch(!), wading through the remnants of the flood in the car park and climbing on, over and around the fallen pine, just going to show that when a tree falls over in a woodland it very quickly provides habitat for new life!
As for the ringers, they had a good morning too, including another mealy redpoll (pictured with a lesser for comparison below), a re-trapped lesser redpoll, first caught on the reserve 4 years ago, and a re-trapped siskin from 2 years ago. The complete list of 40 birds was:
Lesser Redpoll 8
Common Redpoll 1
Song Thrush 2
Blue Tit 3
Great Tit 2