Sunday, 17 March 2013

Soggy Sunday

As the bulk of my latest blogpost at 'Imperfect and Tense' concerned HESC, I thought I'd cut and paste the relevant section across to the FoHESC site:

"After breakfast, we drove down to Hanson Environmental Study Centre to drop off some books for the second-hand stall run by the Friends group. On a fence post by the single track road into the reserve, we were surprised to discover a very bedraggled Barn Owl, scanning the adjacent pasture for prey. I guess the rain that has been omnipresent for the last few nights has made hunting difficult and hunger has driven this bird to be out in daylight in less-than-favourable conditions.

Having completed our literary errand, Our Lass and I had a potter to the Near Hide and back, spotting the owl once more by the old Oak in the paddock and then glimpsing a Kingfisher and a pair of Pintail from the hide. At the end of the boardwalk, a few Coltsfoot were braving the elements though, wimps that we are, we didn't stay out too long.

Back at the Centre, we popped in for a cup of tea and a chat, entered the 'Guess the name of the Otter' competition to win a framed photo of one of the stars of Autumnwatch (no, it isn't Michaela, Chris, Kate or Martin) and even bought a book to grace the recently-created space on our shelves. Despite, or possibly because of, the miserable weather, there were visitors enjoying the view from the warm, dry Centre and watching the bird feeders or the occasional passing Muntjac deer. Very civilised and all in a good cause. Many thanks to the kind-hearted team of Friends volunteers who give of their time and effort to provide this facility for permit holders and the local community."

The signs of Spring are definitely ramping up and may yet force the sun to put in an appearance!

Monday, 11 March 2013

WEBS Wildfowl Count Sunday 10th March
 Oystercatcher - photograph © Tony Bedford

Andy Harding recorded the following species at HESC on Sunday
G.C.Grebe 6
Little Grebe 1
Cormorant 25
Heron 19, mainly in the heronry
Little Egret 3
Mute Swan 14
Canada Goose 2
Wigeon 44
Gadwall 32
Teal 13
Mallard 3
Shoveler 2
Tufted Duck 73
Pochard 4
Goldeneye 3
Coot 22
Moorhen 2

Oystercatcher 1 ( +1 on the bank of Black Horse lake)

Also what was very probably a female or immature Merlin, but too brief to be a certain record. However something to keep a look out for.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Working Party Sunday 3rd March

Another good turn-out enabled us to split into three groups each tackling a different project.

All sorts of creatures were found in the pond!

The water babies drained the raised pond at the front of the centre and started to prepare it for planting. As the water level fell the volunteers kept a sharp watch for any creatures that needed rescuing and relocating to a safe environment - although we hope once we have planted out the pond and refilled it, they may wish to move back to their former home.

A Diving Beetle prior to moving house

If possible we may continue this project during the next Open Sunday (17th March) in order that the pond is in full working order for the Spring.

The fast food team assembled and erected a multi-feeder station at the rear of the centre, which we anticipate should bring a good selection of our feathered friends within easy viewing distance of the back windows.

Do you want to go large with that?

The back woods boys and girls (no I didn't mean backwards) started work on our new main lake viewing point, by clearing the small trees and scrub, in readiness for the Council to remove the large trees and trees on the edge of the reed margins (unfortunately this cannot be done until the water level falls a little further).

A view begins to appear

Once the Council have completed the removal of these trees, we will fit a three sided viewing screen around the existing hard standing, which should hopefully, provide a very interesting new perspective on the lake.

The FoHESC Team were not the only ones engaged
in building projects on Sunday