This is a blog to say thanks to the many volunteers who came to help last Tuesday and Wednesday create an artificial badger sett. This was done under the watchfull eye of badger ecologist Jane and with the help of Steve and his JCB! A lot of digging and sawing and stone removal later and we had a big patch of bare earth with pipes sticking out. Result! The sett will now be baited with tasty peanuts until October when hopefully the badgers will have moved in with this years young :-)
Shearing has began on the reserve farm where I have been helping our tenant farmer, and which has resulted in me walking like an old woman and taking ages to loosen up each morning. The joys of leaning over all day wrapping sheeps fleeces to be sold to the Britsh Wool Board is only made bearable by the copious supply of cakes and snacks provided throughout the day! Only another 2 days to go!! Im sure the sheep will be pleased to be rid of their coats during this hot spell.
Early morning surveys are ongoing and the meadow pipits are showing well out on the marsh, a couple of weeks later than usual.....
A touch of industrial scale gardening is going on today down at the fisheries - so I should best go!
With World Cup fever building the birds at IMF are showing their true colours and red is a firm favourite!
Yesterday (13th May) two curlew sandpipers were found by the site manager and one was wearing its summer plumage colours with pride. These small waders can appear similar to the more common dunlin in their winter plumage and are easily overlooked when in mixed flocks. However, you cannot fail to spot a stonking summer plumage curlew sandpiper as near all its body turns brick-red. As I write they have just been found again so what are you waiting for ...
150+ black-tailed godwits are frequenting IMF, these are in various stages of plumage ... but you guessed it, their summer plumage also features a large amount of red. Another on the red team is the redshank with its bright red-orange legs this wader is showing its support in a more subtle way.
Speaking of red stockings ... A slightly more unusual sight on the reserve were two red-legged partridge running around the sheep fields - unusual behaviour for normally secretive birds.
Latest news: ... An osprey was seen flying high over IMF before heading out to the estuary ... Greenfinches are bringing their fledglings to the feeders ... Sedge warblers sing (almost) everywhere on the reserve ... A pair of bullfinch have been seen a number of times around the feeders ...
Geoff and I had an extended bank holiday yesterday by going to the beach! We took the volunteers up to the dunes at Gronant to help prepare the site for the only Little Tern colony in Wales, and the most succesful in Britain!
This involved rolling out rolls and rolls of electric fencing and creating safe enclosures on the shingle to keep out the foxes and other land predators. One oystercatcher egg was spotted - looking convincingly like a stone - and the female is expected back to lay another three. Ringed plover and Dunlin were scurrying about watching us and stating their noisy disapproval of our presence on their bit of beach!
20-30 Little terns were already around, scouting the area for fish and shingle and suitable wardens! Three full time wardens and a number of volunteers help guard the birds and their eggs from greedy crows and hunting kestrels, whilst also educating the public as to the purpose of all the fencing!
Redshank surveys were continued yesterday - and halted today! Wind and rain on the estuary subdue the activity and song of the birds making surveying difficult and innaccurate.
Do we have any potential volunteers out there who would like to assist us in the dawn surveys of the marsh? There is no need to be an expert although famliarity with the calls and songs of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Redshanks and Oystercatchers would be beneficial as would a good general fitness and the ability to get here by 6.45am! Give the office a ring if interested. We also carry out Lapwing breeding bird surveys from the van, aka the mobile hide, if that is more appealing!
Bye for now, Rhian