After a couple of days enforced closure the reserve is open again today – and will be tomorrow too, just in time for the last “Pop up Café” of the year! So if you’ve not been out and about sledging/snowballing with grand/children and you’ve been going stir crazy make a date to come out for some fresh air, exercise, birds and cake tomorrow!
It was a very snowy scene when I arrived:
I was surprised to find that the lakes were all pretty much ice free apart from a little bit of ice about the margins, particularly as even the river is frozen in stretches. However it has been such a brisk wind I suspect that the wave action has kept the ice off the open water of the lakes – good news for the wildfowl.
For today at least although Tern Hide is open I have not opened the Main Car Park – the concrete surface is particularly treacherous in icy conditions. Bob may or may not open it tomorrow depending on how quickly it thaws in this afternoons rain and overnight.
Otherwise the reserve is open as normal. Jacki came in to volunteer this morning as normal (after I called her to give her the all clear having safely made it in – she is someone who was desperate to get out of her house especially as she’d missed her usual Thursday morning volunteering “fix” too!). After opening the centre and filling up the bird feeders for some very grateful birds we cleared the snow from the hide thresholds and access ramps, the bridges and boardwalks to ensure that if the thaw did not come too quickly the compacted snow did not become too slippery for visitors. We did stop at clearing all the paths however so please do take care over the next day or so until the snow/ice has all gone!
There have been a few visitors today – mostly photographers after pictures of bramblings in the snow by the car park feeders and at the Woodland Hide, but I imagine there will be a few more tomorrow:
I also melted a hole in the ice/snow covering the centre dipping pond – melted using hot water in a pan rather than cracked it, as this can have a detrimental effect upon the aquatic life – sadly not everyone knows or appreciates this fact so there is evidence of a number of holes in both the pond and Ivy Silt Pond where small (or, I suspect, not so small, boys and girls have delighted in throwing in rocks to break the ice). Poulner Dads Club were supposed to be in pond and river dipping this afternoon – under the circumstances I think we made the right decision to postpone!
Even the river is frozen in places making life tricky for our aquatic mammals – can’t be 100% sure but I’m fairly confident that this was evidence of an otter tracking in and out of the river and going for an “ice dive”!
And they – and at least one fox, and no doubt some birds too, have been enjoying this tasty looking morsel over the last few days too:
Fish supper anyone?!