Monday, 14 January 2013

Pre-snow smew

As the flood waters have receded a little (some good pics on Erich's blog here) presumably the smew has been forced to come back into the reserve proximity - picked up on Sunday on both Watton and D Res.

However the flooded carr land between Skerne and Arram still seems to be holding many birds though thinly spread at the moment; 1300 wigeon on Arram, with bewick's and whooper swans (possibly glimpsed on Easingwold this week) in addition to a bittern at Skerne. 

Inside the reserve this week we've had jay on North Marsh, the odd woodcock flushed in management work but not showing from the centre.  Willow tit in the woodlands, crossbill a notable highlight - 2 pairs in the car park conifers on Wednesday and Saturday, with good numbers of accompanying lesser redpoll and siskin.  Thanks to Tony Simpson for these great pictures from Sunday- marsh harrier:
And barn owl:
You may have seen some changes around the barn owl boxes on North Scrub recently - the old barn owl boxes had been nearing the end of their lifespan and we'd sooner replace them this winter rather than have the chicks fall out through a rotten bottom this summer.  We're doing one box a year on a intensive day basis to prevent long term disturbance seeing the owls off; We also needed to pollard some of the large willows in which the box is mounted - this re-invigorates the tree making it last longer and improves the tree's nesting value for warblers and other species - not to mention preventing these aggresive colonisers from turning both the valuable North Scrub and North Marsh into willow carr woodland:
Many thanks to Tony McLean many will know as one of our top photographers - who organised a work day for him and his team of NHBC Buildings Inspectors to come and get a taste of practical volunteering:
Large hornets nest removed from the old box can't have been a comfortable flatmate:
And new box up and completed - thanks to Jim Evans and the Nest Box team for this one along with our usual practical team of volunteers.  It should be noted they are a protected species and it is illegal to disturb them at the nest without a licence - which one of our team holds for this:
A great effort by all - and the best thing is that the barn owl has already been seen sat beside it.  Hopefully the team from NHBC didn't check the angles too carefully on this house!

Just a note too - we have now added this years events programme onto the events page above - feel free to book onto any event you fancy from now onwards...