A trip to Tophill today should have hopefully been straightforward with the ice compacted over the road and no snow threat. However an attempt to clear the road at midday had reduced it to light snow over pot-holed ice with no ability to pass other traffic – resulting in several vehicles and even the water works 4x4 being stuck. The trip to Angram Farm 2 miles away took 2 ½ hours - not much fun at -9! – as a result we cannot recommend any travel to the reserve at present. To quote the process engineer 'the worst it's been since 1963.' Probably the best bet is to stay at home and measure the icicles like martin!
The D res. is now about 99% frozen:
Only one tiny pool remains with a small number of wildfowl keeping it open:
The carrion crows meanwhile are picking over anything left on the ice:
At least 6 woodcock were present today – this one flying into the feeding station meadow:
Another brambling has joined the feeders:
Around 3 goldcrests were present including this male:
And the redwing are finishing off the last of the berries:
Again the harsh weather is driving more interesting birds onto the feeders - this female blackcap was snapped by Richard Sears in his garden on-site:
Regardless work at the reserve goes on:
Many of you will have read the plans regarding the conversion of Sgt Major Wood and the associated horse chestnuts to a new floodplain grazing marsh habitat. Unfortunately due to technicalities in the permissions process we had to postpone the poplar felling for this year – and wait until August next year (part of the problem with having so many protected species on the reserve is that we only have a very small window to undertake works in). Obviously the conversion of a woodland back to an open habitat needs special permission from the Forestry Commission – but we are satisfied it will be very much worth it. For full details see the conservation page at the top.
However the horse chestnut avenue which is now starting to show increasing damage from the bleeding canker and leaf minor moth, is due to be felled over the next couple of weeks. Likewise we will be doing some more minor works around the reserve along with an exciting new nest box project…