I was yet again at Swanwick today working with another volunteer group from our partners from NATS. I had planned to continue with the path along the eastern side of New Lake, but an early visit to the site showed that the rain had made the ground conditions very difficult, so change of location was called for. So we went to East Valley instead and set about constructing two boardwalk sections.
The start of boardwalk making seems slow, but it pays to get the basic structure right, with everything level and firmly placed before the boards are added. We were all morning putting the supports in place, setting and resetting the supports until they were right. We ate lunch at the Centre and afterwards we saw a kingfisher and a grey heron on the Centre Lake, I also saw my first drake gadwall of the autumn at Swanwick too. When we started back the whole came together pretty quickly and soon the task was complete, with only a few bent nails along the way.
I offered a brief walk round at the end of the day for those that wanted to see more of the reserve. It was obvious there had been an arrival of birds in the last day or two, most conspicuously an increase in goldcrest, they seemed to be all over the place. In the morning I also noticed a few blackcap and whitethroat on New Hill.
Reports coming in indicate a large arrival of wildfowl overnight with well over a thousand wigeon and lots of brent geese seen at Farlington Marshes today.