A long time since the last posting and a lot has changed, not least seemingly the weather! Last time we were in the grip of ice and snow - whereas now we seem to be in the embrace of spring. The first coltsfoot appeared around two weeks ago and the first chiffchaff on Monday - with at least a further 3 today.
This male and female kingfisher appeared in breeding mode 3 weeks back on North Marsh - and indeed its been the most active winter yet for them outside a hide they usually desert at this time. Photo by Bruce Pillinger.
here. And Battleflatts for treating the animal.
An imbalance in the mustelid front sees two mink again on the reserve - the 9th and 10th of the last 12 months so again efforts have been redoubled here to remove them from the reserve before breeding season. That said water vole droppings have been seen today.
As before the reason for the lack of postings is that we have been planning and doing an awful lot of work on the reserve in recent weeks. We've cleared dozens of invasive hawthorns from grasslands at both the north and south of the reserve. In many ways south scrub looks largely similar whereas north scrub is considerably more open - we've effectively turned the clock back 20 years. Hopefully we'll never have to go back in heavy handed again and the belted galloway cattle can keep the habitat ticking over benignly in future.
Another project that's been highly visible is the work on willows behind east hide. As ever we get plenty of looks of horror at the scene of devastion we have wrought - mostly inflicted by this 'tree shear' which is effectively a pair of secateurs that can cut 3 feet clean:
So as ever - give us time - it will recover and be better! And there's still plenty of opportunity for treecreepers - Roy Vincent:
here. Redwing on the way - RV:
A time of change not only for wildlife but also for permits. As ever we run the annual membership design contest and as ever we scoured the blog and flickr accounts over 2014 for an image that would work as a new card for the coming year. Whilst there's lots of great pictures we need something with a suitable backdrop and subject - with this in mind we shortlisted...
Roe deer buck by Roy Vincent:
So with that done we now have the new membership cards in and ready to go. The cost is the same as last year - £25 for adult and £17 for concessions. As ever drop in to the reserve to renew at the office (weekends best) or download the joining form the membership page above and we can send out by return of post.
So after a bit of mud and sawdust we're looking forward to another exciting year on the reserve. Cetti's and harriers are already in the offing and who knows - maybe those ospreys...