Friday, 3 May 2013

The first flush of summer

The last week at the reserve has seen a movement in of most of the remaining summer migrants.  The first common terns arrived on Sunday - along with this hobby attacking the abundant hirundines and ever increasing swifts:
Hopefully better pictures to come through summer! Giving some nice opportunities though was this greenshank which stopped off on the drained down south marsh on its journey north:
With what appears to be a leach - and supporting the Hull University study from last year which decreed them to be the most abundant life in there:
And a redshank:
Warblers are showing quite spectacularly round site at the moment - thanks to Bruce Pillinger for this of sedge:
The Angus McBean hide at Hempholme seems a great place for blackcap and whitethroat - thanks to Roy Vincent for these:
And Erich Hediger for this whitethroat (more pictures on his blog here):
Red kites over the car park were logged two nights running last weekend.  Martin also picked this out - large red damselfly - likely the first logged in Yorkshire and the start of the odonata season.  Again check out Martin's blog for the full story here
This looked interesting for a moment - unfortunately a strongly lit jackdaw which was doing it's best hoody impression - Pete Drury:
Yellow wagtails still around the walls:
Thanks to Darren Smith for this impressive line up:
Brimstone was out today - and thanks to Darren for this Comma too:
With Barn owl by Darren:
Ring necked duck still on D res to at least Wednesday:
Another welcome reserve first too:
We've completed the new wardens base and toilet block at the reserve and are very pleased with the result, by contractors Mainpro and designed by Chetwoods Architects Leeds:
We'd have liked to have put some more pictures of the build process on over the last 3 months, but we didn't want to advertise the contractors presence and equipment whilst working:
For those that don't already know the old wildlife centre has been condemned; chiefly by the asbestos in its structure which needs removal.  A failed boiler, sinking and leaking roof, leaking radiators, subsiding footings, dated internal displays and very tired toilets have all sealed its fate - coupled with a poor location for running the car park from.  In the longer term we intend to install a new 'reception hide' in around 2015 overlooking the D reservoir to replace the ageing car park hide.  However toilets and warden facilities are the most pressing concern.  We therefore decided to convert the old garage building as it already had mains electricity, water and sewage - overcoming a massive expense of laying this across the car park.  We've also taken the opportunity to install a lot of sustainability options like grey water harvesting for toilet flushes and boot washing trough:
There's also solar heating panels on the roof - this assists the heating of water for the taps in the new toilets:
We will be limiting time in the toilets however - as appealing as it may be, hours of raptor migration watching through the skylights from the comfortable khazi is not permitted! 

All lighting is on sensor to only come on when the natural light drops and people are present:

The cedar cladding and shingled roof is all sustainably sourced and the walkway around the exterior is to be fitted out to provide some great opportunities for swallow nesting - and the bats will certainly find their way in before long...
There are still a few fettling jobs to finish before we get the office operational - but the toilets are up and running for this weekend.  A few folk have asked 'when the visitor centre will be opened' - the answer is that this is purely toilets and wardening facilities.  We'll be without a 'visitor centre' as such for the next couple of years which is regrettable; however we're steering away from static displays and instead embracing what people really want to come and see - the wildlife.  This plan shows what we have in mind for the car park area - still exciting times to come and a great endorsement in the future of the reserve from Yorkshire Water who have funded the transformation.