It has been a busy couple of days with volunteer work parties at Swanwick and Farlington. In fact yesterday we had three groups at Swanwick at the same time. The regular Monday Swanwick team were with Emma constructing walkway and putting up a new sign board. Rob was with the Beechcroft team clearing the slope on the western side of New Lake to keep the habitat suitable for the insects that like this open sunny slope. Meanwhile I had a group from NATS working on some new boardwalk sections on the path on the eastern side of New Lake where we had to close the old path due to the bank slipping.
Although the day was busy I did see a little wildlife, a kingfisher was on the Centre Lake and near our work site there were quite a few fungi, including this sponge cap.
We were lucky with the weather, it was dull at first but then the sun came out and we had a very fine autumn day.
Today we were at Farlington with the regular volunteers, this was my last outing with them and perhaps my last full day on the Marsh. As I arrived there were 22 bearded tit high-flying over the reeds and in the Bushes I saw whitethroat, blackcap, chiffchaff and a sedge warbler. Overhead 2 grey wagtail flew over as did a single tree pipit, both species identified first by their calls.
The volunteers were cutting and raking the islands in the Scrape and doing preparation work for the replacement of further sections of the fence along the back of the reedbed. I was driving the tractor for most of the day, trying to get the topping completed before I move on.
It was easier than usual to get out to the islands as the water level is very low at present and it was possible to walk out there without even wellingtons.
As we had lunch a hobby flew over reedbed causing consternation among the small birds, amazingly this is the first one I have seen at the Marsh this year. There was then a really big disturbance in the Harbour with waders flying all over the place, an osprey was flying about over the RSPB islands.
The regular team was not the only volunteer group working on the Marsh today though, we also had a group from the Access to Nature project, which gets young people out doing conservation tasks, in this case replacing one of the small bridges over the ditch in the Bushes.
I will try to make one or two more posts before I pass things over lock, stock and blog, to Rob. In the meantime, someone asked why the 108ft blog, I may have said before, or I may not, but it is the approximate height difference between the highest point of any of the reserves we look after in our team and the lowest point. The highest point is more or less exactly 100ft above sea level at Hookheath and the lowest about 8ft below sea level at Farlington.