This winter we have been able to get a huge amount of winter scrub cutting done, thanks to the tremendous efforts of our dedicated volunteers. Altogether the volunteers have clocked up 587.5 hours on winter work parties between the 24th October and the 27th February. One block of scrub has been completely cleared and a second is very nearly cleared. This has opened up views across the reserve beautifully, and looks wonderful.
You may have noticed that the stumps have been left quite high, there are several reasons for this;
- it’s easier for staff and volunteers to cut the stumps a bit higher.
- if the stumps do regrow vigorously, it gives us scope to cut the stumps down lower and then still be able to treat them with herbicide.
- as the stumps die off there will be standing dead wood created.
We have created more dead hedges and increased the size of existing ones with the material extracted. This is great habitat for many birds to forage for insects, get shelter and to nest. Keep an eye out for wrens, blackcaps and dunnocks in these dead hedges.
Spring is now fully on its way, in the last few weeks I have spotted many lovely signs of spring. The catkins on the willows have been out for quite a while and look lovely. At Blashford male adders are beginning to emerge quite regularly to bask when the temperatures are high enough.
Lesser periwinkle is in flower near the old pond to the rear of the centre at Blashford. Periwinkle are lovely flowers with asymmetrical petals so they look like fan blades or a windmill.
The weather is staying mild and doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of turning, so we could have a very early start to nesting and breeding season, and a very successful spring for wildlife. Although, this is an indication that climate change is having a real impact, I’m not sure our wildlife will cope very well if we have another summer as dry as last year.