Monday, 22 April 2013

Life Through a Lens
Sunday 21st April

Thankfully the fine weather continued throughout the weekend and resulted in yet another very good turnout for this months open Sunday. It was also very pleasing to see yet more new faces and I guess this reflects the fact that the Friends Group membership is now approaching 130.

Many of the groups walking the reserve were enjoying our new spring arrivals with Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers all in good voice. There were several debates concerning the ways to distinguish the difference between Chiffs and Willows and the Chairman helped the debate by confidently changing his mind with unerring regularity.

Black legs must be Chiffchaff, but in another picture they look pink 
and does that eye stripe make it a Willow Warbler? 
Oh why doesn't it just, sing then we can be sure.

Also heard, but as is often the case, not seen, was a Grasshopper Warbler which has arrived over the last few days. The Egyptian Geese could still be spotted amongst the sheep, which have invaded the far side of the reserve and visitors also recorded a Greenshank and a Gargany on the bund.

Comma Butterfly taking the Sunday sun - one of the 
first we have seen at HESC this year.

In front of the Centre, Malcolm had set up a number of microscopes with which to view various mini-beasties collected from the ponds. A Stickleback and Stone Loach also received close scrutiny from some of our young (and not so young) visitors along with various larvae, water beetles and pond skaters.

Visitors of all ages enjoyed seeing a little pond life under the microscope

As always thank you to everyone who bought teas, coffees, books or birdseed. These purchases help us raise money, which all goes back into the reserve in repairs, maintenance and improvements and keeping the feeders topped up. 

The Frogs and Toads were a little harder to spot than of recent days, 
but the ponds contained many large masses of spawn

If you would like to find out our plans for future projects please do come along to the AGM on the 15th May (click on projects and forthcoming events for more details).

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Wednesday 15th May - 7.30pm at the Hanson Centre

Open to all current permit holding members of FoHESC.

Please come along and find out what we have achieved over the last year and our plans for the future. Have your say in how you would like to see the reserve develop and the kinds of projects and activities you would like to see the Friends Group undertake.

For more details click on the events and projects tag.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Tony Bedford

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Ponds Face Wash - Sunday 7th April

I have been asked to pass on a big thank you from the Council Staff, to everyone in the Friends Group who helped in the refurbishment of the raised pond in front of the Centre Car park last Sunday. Once established this pond will provide an extra educational facility for school visits when studying water invertebrates and other "mini-beasties".

Our sociable Secretary commenced proceedings by breaking the ice - literally!

Then our chirpy chippies constructed a more tasteful edging to the pond.

Customised planters provided a bed for reeds and other aquatic plants relocated from on site.

Job done - now we just need some decent growing weather and a few flighty damsels and dragons to help populate the pond.

No Alans, Tommies or Charlies but a pretty successful groundforce nonetheless.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Snipe snippet

With some welcome sunshine gracing the sky this past weekend, the nature reserve was a pleasant place to be. However, first there was the small matter of all those gardening tasks at home that have been on hold for ages due to the weather. For me, this was replanting a wild flower border which had proved a colourful and nectar-rich success in 2012 and then the slightly less fragrant chore of de-gooping our pond.

When those were out of the way, we spent an hour or so, on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, just soaking up the faint traces of the Spring vibe and letting that HESC magic soak into our bones.

Chiffchaffs were chiff chaff-ing and a Green Woodpecker was yaffling persistently from a tall tree by St Peter's Lake. There were numerous small insects on the wing (much to the delight of the warblers!) as well as several bees. The Coltsfoots by the western end of the boardwalk were cantering, if not galloping, towards maturity. And there seemed to be Bullfinches calling everywhere.

Out on the main lake, several Egyptian Geese put in an appearance, a pair of Great Crested Grebes were busy constructing a nest at the eastern end of the bund and there were many Little Egrets and Grey Herons patrolling the reed beds.

On Sunday afternoon, Our Lass spotted a Snipe flying high over the site. It circled briefly and then dived down steeply and landed on the bund, immediately disappearing into the undergrowth, as Snipe are wont to do. We mused about the fact that there could be six hundred Snipe on the bund and no-one would be any the wiser. Half an hour later, just before we left the hide, a female Sparrowhawk glided passed, low over the water. When it reached the bund, it carried out a recce of the pools within and flushed all manner of stuff. Suddenly there were Teal and Snipe everywhere, but the hawk was unlucky and perched sulkily in the trees by the abandoned bridge. As the metaphorical dust settled, the Teal tucked themselves into the vegetation at the water's edge and the Snipe gathered themselves into a flock and headed off for pastures new. There were sixteen in all.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Doing Bird

Whats this?

Are we putting birds in jail?

Aha - Its an attempted break-in

Taken at the Woodland hide.