Reserve Visits

Today I have been on a 'flying visit' to three of our reserves; starting off in Rochdale at the Home Reserve, onto Banks to the Meadow Reserve, and finally onto the Three Owls Wood at Tarleton for a trustees meeting, where we were given the 'guided tour' by David to see first hand all the recent progress on that site.


First the Home Reserve; recovering well from the recent deep snowy weather, the floor of the woodland there is greening-up nicely, and I noticed already two pairs of blackbirds are already well-on with their nesting. Two of the robins followed me round hoping for a titbit, so I overturned one of the rotting logs which enabled them to fill up on the grubs then exposed. A further check on the heron nests revealed two discarded egg shells, but alas a deathly silence from the treetops above. As the babies would normally be quite vocal, I fear they may have perished in the recent very cold and stormy weather (and been recycled by mum & dad)...but I would be happy to be proved wrong if they were simply tucked under a parent keeping warm, and will keep an eye on this over the next few days.


Onward to the Meadow Reserve at Banks; a very different reserve here, with lots of tussocky grass vital for the vole habitat. These provide an essential part of the diet for not only the barn owls, but a host of other birds and animals as David regularly reports. The songbirds were here aplenty, but no sign of the barn owls on this visit - obviously they were tucked up in bed!


Finally, over to Three Owls Wood and meeting up with David (another of our Trustees who manages this reserve for us); it is amazing to see how this woodland has developed from the horse field it was back in 2011. As we walked around the 6 1/2  acre site, we saw a number of songbirds, a pair of buzzards wheeling lazily overhead, and a couple of mallards in the large pond. There were also pheasants a-plenty, and on the way out we saw one of the huge hares racing around - they really are massive! The photo shows David and just some of the tree guards piling up now removed - having nursed the trees through their early years, and now ready to move onto their next home. It has been wonderful to see a true woodland growing up from 18" 'twigs', into the huge trees towering above us today.


Nigel

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