Monday, 7 January 2013

Happy New Year from All at FoHESC

Welcome to our first update of the new year and a big thank you to everyone who turned out last Sunday for our first working day of 2013.

Although at first the air was slightly damp the assembled crew took advantage of the mild weather and soft ground to erect a screen along the exposed bank of St Peters lake and to install two more benches.

One Purl one Plain - the screen starts to take shape

It is hoped that the screen will provide a little cover from people walking along the path that runs between the two lakes, so that birds on the St Peters side will not be so easily spooked and so provide a better viewing opportunity. 

The finished screen

For most of us this was our first attempt at building a screen woven from loose willow and other cuttings and spare timbers, so we may need to revisit the project occasionally to carry out maintenance and modifications. Having said this, I think most of us were pleased with our first effort and can add the experience to our rapidly expanding skills bank.

How may Friends does it take to drill a hole?

We also took the opportunity to install two new benches - one at the corner of St Peters Lake (not far from the turn off to the far hide) and the other by the side of the path in the near meadow quite close to the original hibernaculum).

As is customary we also enjoyed a break for tea/coffee, biscuits and I suspect the last mince pies for a while - thank you Pauline and Jane - although this time tiffin was taken in the woodland hide which gave an opportunity to note how quickly the water level has started to drop and to view a little wildlife.

Quite a few Pheasants that have been scattered by the local shoots have taken up residence on the reserve and have started to learn about the seed that can be found near the tables in front of the woodland hide. Some of the cock birds have really glorious colours, although they are pretty feisty towards each other, so you may well witness a punch up or two over the coming weeks, until they naturally thin out and move into new areas.

Walking the plank seems preferable to dodging the bullets

For those of you who are not familiar with pheasant shooting the season in England runs from Oct 1st to Feb 1st, so if the birds on the reserve stay for another few weeks they can then look forward to a safer spring and summer - although the foxes on the reserve do not observe the closed season!

We also still have small flocks of Repoll and Siskin mixed in with Goldfinches flitting around the tree tops and Goldcrest are regularly seen near the woodland hide. The main lake holds good numbers of common wildfowl, although the bund has still not recovered enough yet to provide much of a habitat for waders.

Although Britain's smallest bird, Goldcrest can regularly be seen around the woodland hide

We will be continuing with the open days on the third Sunday of each month and welcome ideas for any other events you would like to see arranged over the coming months. We hope to see you again soon.

Working party photos courtesy of Malcolm Stewart,
Pheasant and Goldcrest by Tony Bedford

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