Monday, 21 November 2011
Autumn at Feckenham
Our Galloways have been working hard in the meadows since July and have munched their way through the late flush of growth. They are currently in the southern end of the reserve and will probably stay there over winter before being moved into the meadows again for a short spring graze. We are hoping to have more cattle on site next year which will enhance our grazing programme.
Our volunteers have also been busy - starting our winter work program with some much needed coppicing of alders next to the dragonfly ponds. This will enable more light to get to them and avoid the dreaded leaf drop each year. We will be doing more coppicing, pollarding and tree maintenance during the winter and into 2012. We also hope to have another stretch of the Moors Lane hedge laid/coppiced by Mervin Needham and his excellent team who did a great job last year. I must also mention John Holder and his team who built our new bothy during the summer. We are now completely spoilt in having a large tool store and somewhere to sit/shelter when it's too wet to work.
The surface water levels have been significantly lower this year but now, after some rain, they are getting back to normal. We have been fortunate with good levels in all of our new dragonfly ponds and the main pool mainly because these are deep enough to maintain water during summer. As you can see from the pic of the reed next to our dipping pond, the autumn colours are brilliant.
Last week we decided to take a walk down the lane rather than across the reserve. On the way down I noticed there was a particular abundance of sloes on two of the blackthorn that we had planted a few years ago to fill a gap. They would appear to be a different variety than what we expect to find on the reserve. One of my volunteers, Jenny Tonry, suggested that we might look for brown hairstreak eggs on them ... lo and behold we found 14 new eggs. Following this excitement we went to the regular egg spot and found a further 10. This total of 24 is our best since finding the first eggs 2 years ago. As there are two large ash trees along our hedge near to the new find we will actively be looking for BH activity next year and hopefully one of these will turn out to be the elusive assembly tree.
Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor