The Thursday volunteers were coppicing today and we took the opportunity of the fire we were using to burn up the top to bake some potatoes for our Christmas Bash. A tub of grated cheese, some butter and excellent chutney went well with what turned out to be perfectly cooked potatoes, we finished off with homemade mince pies.
The willow in this area grows poorly and often dies back, I think because of the poor soil which is derived from pumped silt. Reeds grow well though, especially where it lies wet in winter and I think this is what will happen once this area is cleared. This was our second day cutting and I expect it will take a couple more sessions to clear the whole patch.
A day spent cutting willows meant that we saw almost no wildlife, a couple of egrets flew over, one was certainly a little, the other, spotted just as is went behind the trees looked like a great white. When I went up to turn in the fire as it got dark I also had a quick look from the Lapwing hide and there was certainly a great white egret there then, along with 90 goosander. We did find a winter moth in the willows and what looked like a butterfly flew off unidentified just before lunch. Otherwise a couple of calling chiffchaff were the other highlights.
Elsewhere on the reserve a brambling was reported by a few visitors today, hopefully to be followed by many more.