Monday, 29 March 2010

Chiff chaff at Ipsley

Had the first chiff chaff on the reserve last week and can't wait for the rest of the summer visitors.

Michael, Ipsley Alders

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Last Logs of the Season

My first log sale since the Valentines Volunteers!

Although I have done some log splitting since, I was looking forward to getting back into the swing of it (excuse the pun)! I arrived on Saturday at about 9.30 and already there were trailers and cars being loaded, these wood folk are really eager. So after a quick hello I chose my weapon (axe to those who don't know me) and away we went, splitting, bagging, loading up trailers and cars of all sizes. I'm seriously impressed with how much wood you can fit into the smallest of cars!

There were piles and piles of logs to get through and I'm sure someone was adding to my pile everytime I turned my back. So when it finally came to 1pm I have to admit I was quite pleased to be packing up for the day.

However being a sucker for punishment I was looking forward to Sunday!

Again arrived 9.30 I put the signs on the gate (yes I did have to think which way the arrows were pointing) and no sooner had we found a suitable chopping block and got our "eyes on" for splitting... in they came!! One after the other, which was ace, less to split! One one chap did ask me if I'd go home with him to "help unload" - I said "sure I'll help you burn them as well if you like!" He did come back for another load but it was still only logs he left with!!

Amazingly enough it wasn't long before we could see grass where the logs had been. Yippee... I'm still shocked (but pleased) to see how much work can be done by a group of willing people. It's great.

So overall another good day at Tiddesley wood! I can't believe I have to wait months before I can wield an axe again ........ well for this particular cause at any rate!!!

Heather, Tiddesley Wood

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Mowing at Upton Warren

Thanks to Gordon, his friend with machinery and volunteers several areas were mown on Saturday prior to the breeding season. Flashes East (Sewage meadow) now looks 100% better than it did - which will improve the habitat for the birds, wild flowers and insects over the coming months.

Since we have been regularly mowing the area around the main hide we have seen notable increases in wild flowers such as lady's smock, meadow buttercups
and vetches as well as knapweed, marsh thistle and other composite-type plants which are highly attractive to butterflies and bumblebees. This provides valuable extra interest during the summer months that are often relatively quiet, bird-wise. Despite a series of summers with poor weather, we continue to see increasing numbers of marbled White, ringlets, meadow browns and skippers in this area, for instance. Such insects are becoming scarcer in the intensively-farmed wider countryside.

This diversity is in contrast to the sewage meadow which, because of inadequate management in the past, mainly consists of tussock-
forming coarse grasses with relatively little interest. Hopefully, this will now start to change.

With this in mind I hope we can look forward to mowing of the sewage meadow twice a year (once in spring and again in each autumn).

David, Upton Warren

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


The bittern has been showing well on the North Moors. Its been catching plenty of nice sized fish (for a bittern) that appear to mostly roach.

Maybe it's building up its energy reserves for the flight back to the breeding area?

Stuart, Upton Warren

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Taster at Tiddesley

On march 7th we were off again into the woods, to clear some trees and put up some deer fencing, Yippee!! This had been organised by the Trust as a taster session to give newbies like me an idea of what volunteering is all about.

This was only my 3rd time volunteering and I was really looking forward to getting out of the splitting barn (although for those who know me, I'm quite partial to a bit of splitting!). I worked on the understanding that when Claire says "prompt" she means prompt, so me being me I arrived way too early and it took about 30 minutes before people started to show!

We set off from the car park and into the wood, where there were the beginnings of what was promised to be a roaring fire (if only it was a easy as that)!

Eventually there was a gang of about 10 of us and we had a briefing from Rob about why we were doing what we were doing, which always helps your motivation! We were clearing an area to promote new growth; most of the work was thanks to the deer having a taste for the small, fresh growth that we also wanted, albeit for slightly different reasons!

I had a great time, thirsty work mind! So at 11.00 a tea break was very well earned (thanks to Claire with the camping stove)! We were like a bunch of hobbits, huddled around a little kettle!
Oh and the Jammy Dodgers were very well received!!

It's amazing how much a group of willing people can achieve in a few hours, it'll never cease to amaze me. I think if anyone walking dogs had stumbled upon us at certain points they may have wondered what was so amusing.. there was a lot of giggling going on, and it wasn't just me, sorry chaps! I do believe we even had Harry (Green) tittering on a few occasions!

Overall another great day. We finished at 3.00, packed up and cleared out, with only the squelching of our boots to be heard!

Thanks to all involved and I look very much forward to seeing you all again soon

Heather, Tiddesley Wood

Monday, 1 March 2010

Slavonian Grebe footage

I managed to get some footage of the Slavonian grebe on Friday. We were hoping it would stay around for longer.

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Of deep ploughing & sheep!

The Heathland restoration at Blackstone Farm took another important step forward last Tuesday when the first of the newly acquired arable fields was deep ploughed to bury the nutrient-rich top soil and bring the nutrient-poor sub soil to the surface. This required the use of a much more powerful tractor unit than would be used for normal ploughing. The operation was not just appreciated by the Trust as part of its plan but also by the ever hungry black headed gulls.

The Devil's Spittleful monthly volunteers work group spent last Thursday morning cleaning the scrub from alongside the boundary fencing with the Severn Valley Railway track and fitting stock-proof netting ready for the introduction of rare breed (Soay) sheep to the Reserve. The sheep will help to keep the existing grass meadows suitable for the Reserve's unusual flora. The photograph shows the group taking a well deserved lunch break before moving on to upgrade the field gates and collect litter from around the rock outcrop.

John, Stourbridge local group