Thursday, 27 January 2011

Home Improvements

Another Thursday and despite the cold wind seventeen volunteers turned out to work on the reserve. The recent rain has resulted in a rise in water levels, so getting the sand martin bank holes replenished while we can still get to them easily has become a priority. Of course the first martins will be back with us in about six weeks, perhaps even a little less so we should be getting on with it in any case.
Working on the sand martin bank was not a task to occupy everyone so the rest of us were clearing willows from the former silt pond where I hope to be digging some small ponds as part of the Million Ponds Project. The area we are clearing has a lot of small, but tall willows, many of them dead. The ground is very fine silt and clay so I hope it will hold water quite well. The ponds will only be temporary as I'm sure they will dry out in summer, at the very least. However such ponds have a wide range of specialist species adapted to using them, some of them rare and localised. Luckily one of the richest areas for such species is the New Forest, so we have a good chance of natural colonisation.
After being besieged by bitterns yesterday, today none were seen, the first blank day in for few weeks. The 2 smew were on Rockford Lake, but the great white egret could not be found, despite several people searching after it having been seen at least three times yesterday.
The Woodland hide is getting very busy with perhaps a 100 brambling, there was also another report of a mealy redpoll today. I was received a picture of one from yesterday, the first confirmed one since 2009, we failed to record one at all during the BTO Challenge.

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