Unfortunately the Beast from the East put what we thought was a temporary brake on proceedings, but instead it was terminal. Whether the same fate befell ours as this one in Amsterdam is debatable - but I have heard a number of visitors from other reserves commenting there's were been knocked back also.
Unfortunately it is what they are designed to do; We know last year they got at least 11 young out of 'the hole.' We know there were another two nests active within the environs of the reserve - so we're looking at 30 plus youngsters from 2017. Clearly there is not enough habitat for this volume of birds around the reserve. In their niche they do take big hits in poor conditions - but then will repopulate in favourable conditions within a year or two, barn owls follow a similar boom and bust and its echoed across all species to a greater or lesser extent. For some reason 2018 is a vintage cowslip year - its the way it goes:
Losers unfortunately though were most notably the little ringed plovers. Susceptible in previous years to ground predation we have caged them - but elected not to as it was hoped the fox fence would deliver the same benefit without interference. Alas we have been too successful and the hemmed in hoards of goslings and sub-adult swans scrapping over space appear to have trampled the nest scrape - Brian Colley:
Shelduck too appear to have fizzled. In spite of a promising start it is unclear whether any have fledged for unknown reasons. The smart looking lesser black backed gulls were replaced by a scruffy delinquent mob of sub-adults and came to nothing. And tantalisingly pochard bred on site - a rare breeding bird panel species with BTO estimates at only 500 pairs in the UK. Alas rather than doing so in the sanctuary of the fox fence they did so on south marsh west. The problem with this is its a bit like going for a swim in the Zambezi river during migration. Undoubtedly the pike claimed them within hours - a 2.5 foot shadow in the Barmston Drain here:
This summer also saw the open day on the 17th of June. We're really pleased with how the event went and we saw 650 people enjoying some excellent stands and displays from local environmental groups. Given its success we have already earmarked the 9th of June 2019 for a similar event - a few here from the day:
Saturday 28th July 10am -12noon – Flower power & butterfly bonanza.
With the wild flower meadow now in all its glory increase your knowledge of wildflowers on the reserve. Not only are the flowers stunning themselves but they provide essential food for the butterflies. On a hot sunny day what could be better than soaking up the sun in such a beautiful setting with flowers and butterflies all around.
Tuesday 31st July 2-4pm – Be your own nature guide.
With some good knowledge of the flora and fauna on the reserve learn how to take your very own tour. Point out all those things that a warden needs to know and add your own findings too!
Tuesday 7th August 10am -12noon – Scavenger hunt.
Follow the scavenger trail to learn about and find a range of bugs and beasties. Use pooters to catch and observe the life on the woodland floor. Peer into the bug hotel, lift a log, dig for worms!And running for two weeks will be a photographic exhibition in the reception hide holt: