Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Hedge laying at Hill Court Farm

Last month members of the Hill Court Farm volunteer work party got stuck into the task of clearing / laying / coppicing a long length of hedgerow.  The weather was kind to us & in our beautiful location, surrounded by bird song & watched (rather suspiciously!) by rabbits we had a great day. Massive thanks to all those who helped!

Clearing the hedgerow was a job in itself as it was pretty choked by thick bramble in places, but thanks to a determined and enthusiastic team the bramble was defeated and the hedgerow was liberated! We were then to have a go at laying the top end of the hedge and I think the results are looking good - well worth the toil. 

Clearing the hedge ready for laying

The start of the hedge laying - looking good

There is still much work to be done, so if you have a couple of hours spare and fancy lending a hand at this month's work party on this Saturday 30th November we'd love to see you. There will be plenty to get stuck into at whatever pace suits you and the opportunity to learn the art of hedge laying for anyone who'd like to have a go.    Although the work seems almost brutal at times, the hedgerow will be enhanced as a habitat when it grows back thicker, healthier and stronger next year and this in turn will be beneficial to wildlife for shelter / nesting, as a food source and as a 'corridor' across the Reserve.  It should prove to be one of those tasks which gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside as you see the results over time. 

Contact Naomi or Rob for further details on 01905 754919.

Sara, Hill Court Farm warden

Friday, 22 November 2013

Native Owls by Gilian Hales

We were delighted to welcome Gillian Hales and eleven lovely owls to our Worcester local group meeting this November.  Gillian was keen to share her extensive knowledge of owls and we had an enthusiastic audience of almost 50 people who were keen to meet them!  Her love for owls goes back to childhood and now she rehomes badly treated, injured and unwanted owls of all ages from chicks to maturity. 

After an enjoyable illustrated talk, we were introduced by name to each of the owls along with a life history synopsis and how they came to be in Gillian’s care. Species included barn, tawny, burrowing,  little and the magnificent brown wood from Sri Lanka. 

No one could deny their unique personalities especially when Chip, the brown wood, snuggled up to Gillian and the 13 year old barn owl wagged his tail as he lapped up the applause at the end of a most enjoyable evening! 

Caryl, Worcester Local Group

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

New work party at Hollybed

Sunday 3rd was our Taster Day at Hollybed Reserve. We had a strong turnout in beautiful weather and got to work putting up bird nest boxes. Our new volunteers managed the smaller ones really well but the huge owl boxes tested even the most experienced of us. By lunchtime we had them all in place.
After lunch we did a tour of the reserve led by myself, the volunteer reserve manager and I described our plans for our future development of the reserve and explained some of the work we have already completed.

We spent the rest of the afternoon coppicing an area overgrown by blackthorn trees to let more light into an area on the edge of the reserve.

A big thank you to all the volunteers who took part in the day, including many who have already completed valuable survey work and know the reserve quite well. Please come back and join us for our next day at Hollybed in Sunday December 1st when we will be planting new fruit trees in the old orchard.

Andrew, Hollybed reserve manager

Monday, 4 November 2013

How the years roll on!

Recently 'three generations' of Reserve Wardens met again at Feckenham Wylde Moor some 31 years after they first met together on the reserve in 1982. 

In the first picture are, left Andrew Fraser bending, Geoff Trevis our first Warden from 1982 to 1990 and to his right Michael Bretherton Warden from 1990 to 2008. 
The person that you can't see in this first gathering is myself, Paul Meers current Warden/Manager who was behind the camera. We met in May 1982 to survey the site to determine the best place to dig out our main pool. During that evening in May we took core samples and decided that the best position was where the clay was nearer to the surface and would therefore give us the best results when digging a pool. The clay would provide a natural 'base' for the pool enabling water to be retained without the need to 'puddle'. A few weeks later as fast as the digger took out the spoil the area filled with water and the natural high water table has provided a constant volume in the pool even in the driest years, which haven't been many over the past 31 years.

On that evening we first herd Snipe 'booming' on the reserve and this is a sound that has remained in our memories ever since. I still hope to hear that magical sound again after all those years have passed every year when our Snipe return.

I took over as reserve warden/manager from Michael Bretherton in 2008. and still have the honour of holding the position today.

The second photograph, taken a couple of weeks ago shows from the left Geoff Trevis, myself and on the right Michael Bretherton.
We believe, unless anyone else can beat it, that this is a unique photograph of '3 generations of Wardens' ! ! !

Sadly Andrew Fraser is not with us today and he I know is sadly missed by us 'older' Trust members who remember him as a founder member of the Trust, a hard worker and a pioneer in terms of setting the standards by which we all work to today to ensure that Worcestershire reserves provide secure homes for our flora and fauna.

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor.