We've been busy this winter on the reserve.
Contractors are in pollarding the big old crack willows along the NW boundary hedge line. This is a continuation of work started last year to maintain and contain these very big trees that, unless work was done to reduce their height, would ultimately result in damage and even them being blown down in a strong wind. We have left existing cracks and holes to encourage bats and woodpeckers.
Other contractors are felling some ash in the wood alongside the main pool. This is thinning work as nothing has been done to this stand of trees since they were planted in the early 1980s. Thinning will encourage more diverse ground cover as more light is let in and will also benefit the growth of the hazel understory.
My regular hard-working Wednesday volunters have been busy. We've cut another 10% of the reed bed, which we found to be very successful in previous years; regenerating growth producing taller denser and stronger re-growth. This will provide better habitat for nesting warblers in the coming months.
More work has been done on coppicing in the alders to reduce leaf drop into the dragonfly ponds and allow in more light. We've also started work on coppicing/pollarding the cross hedge between the paddock and the alder carr. This work is part of the greater scheme of things to open up the reed bed and marsh to enable birds such as snipe and other similar species to fly into the wet areas without having to dodge tall trees and high hedges. We'll be leaving any dead trees in the hedge line as habitat and 'cuckoo posts'.
We've now completed the clearance work to the aged blackthorn where we have had our brown hairstreak success. This will now allow fresh suckers to grow and provide a small micro climate for BH to use in the future.
Nothing to report on rare bird sightings and in general the reserve has been very quiet. We have had our bird-ringers on site and they have also found it to be very quiet. Last week I did, however, put up 2 woodcock, which was a bonus.
Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor