Thursday, 31 March 2011

Changes to Reserve pricing and membership

We will be increasing prices from April 1st 2011 for day permits from £2.50 to £2.80 for adults, and for concessions from £1.00 to £1.20. Hopefully you will agree this is acceptable given we have not altered prices with inflation for around a decade and need to factor in the recent VAT change, along with the host of recent reserve improvements.

In addition many of you, if members of Hull Valley Wildlife Group, will be aware of changes to the membership process for visiting Tophill Low Nature Reserve due to start in April too.

For details on the changes please also see the Hull Valley site here.

Basically we will now be issuing annual membership permits direct from the Nature Reserve instead of through HVWG. Please do not worry if you have existing HVWG membership – we will continue to honour all valid HVWG passes purchased prior to April 2011 (and expiring up to April 2012).

The new permits are priced at £20 for adults and £14 for concessions for a full year (for full details please see the membership page above). Hopefully this should not alter your enjoyment of the reserve – as before day permits only allow access from 9am – 6pm. To visit outside these hours you need to be a reserve member.

That said we still very much support Hull Valley Wildlife Group in its work for 'promotion, awareness, and appreciation of the region's natural history' and recommend membership at £5. All Tophill Low records whilst being available to ourselves at the reserve to manage the site, will be passed on to HVWG to form an annual report. Tophill Low membership will be just that - an annual ticket only. If you want to get more deeply involved in conservation and wildlife in the wider Hull Valley area beyond Tophill Low we recommend HVWG. Ultimately the net cost to join both organisations remains comparable. For details click here.

As an aside the new membership card for ease features one of my Kingfisher shots from North Marsh last year. A new design will come out every year, and next time we will select a visitor wildlife photo for the April 2012 permit design. The winner gets to see their pic on all the permits for a year, and will also win a years membership. The rules are that they must be submitted to the 'tophill pics' e-mail address top right, and be taken at Tophill Low from April 2011. Entries close end of December and judging is at the discretion of the Tophill Low Wardens.

A quick update on reserve sightings:

Sunday and today saw the first little gulls of the year, with one of the first house martin reports coming in today. Sand Martins reached over 100 on Tuesday above the D reservoir with ones and twos of swallows, where the drake scaup still remains. A merlin attempted a catch of a sand martin this morning over D res and the grey wagtail was on the walls. Predictably amongst the passage of pied wagtails Steve Webb managed to pick out a white wagtail on Tuesday at Watton, where the little-ringed plovers remain.

Also present at least til yesterday were the whooper swan, drake scaup, pink-footed and white-fronted geese on South Marsh East. No smew sightings – it may have gone – but there are still bramblings. However these will likely be gone within two weeks so this is your last chance to see them.

One thing many will be pleased to hear of was a kingfisher back at North Marsh again yesterday.