On Friday evening we had our annual volunteer get together, our chance to say “Thank you” to all our many, many volunteers on whom the smooth running of the reserve depends. Volunteers do practical tasks, help with education groups, lead and help with events, take photographs, carry out survey work and even do some of our admin.
The evening started with a choice of two walks or helping Tracy in her attempt to make the official Blashford coracle.
As you can see they did a great job, so far at least, it will still need covering with something waterproof.
I lead one of the walks and we were lucky enough to see the bittern and a few brambling, I got no pictures, but have one sent in by Lorne Bissell (many thanks Lorne) and taken at the feeders by the Woodland hide.
Over the weekend both the black-necked grebe and Slavonian grebe remained on Ibsley Water, while the ring-billed gull was joined at the roost by a first winter Caspian gull.
Today dawned bright and cold and there was some ice around the edges of the lakes.
It being Tuesday we had our smaller practical volunteer team in, the task was to try and make repairs to the roof of the Ivy North hide to stop the water coming in. For this task we have to thank not just the volunteers who carried it out but also a donation from the Marden Charitable Trust, which paid for the materials. Donations are an important part of the funding for the running of the reserve. It is an unfortunate fact that it is much easier to raise funds to buy a bit of infrastructure than to look after or replace it. So keeping a site running is much harder to fund than setting it up in the first place. Our volunteers’ work and donations play a vital role in keeping things together in the long term.
I will sign off with a picture taken from the office, somewhere I have been spending rather a lot of time recently.
The picture was taken through the rather dirty window, but is not bad for all that. There have been at least 9 long-tailed tit on this fat feeder at a time recently, in this cold weather this high energy food supply is likely to be very important for very small birds like these.