Hello I am back! Well, 75% back after breaking my leg and have been thrown in the deep end with some major projects underway. The opening of the new part of the reserve being one of them!
The other major project has been the erection of 2km of electric fence on the marsh to encourage the sheep to graze in areas usually neglected. Hopefully this will improve the habitat for breeding birds. I want to thank the large team of volunteers who gave up their time and their backs to carry, dig, hammer, nail and erect the fence! I think Geoff also deserves a mention for the many days of strimming he put in whilst being attacked by horseflies! After locating a couple of areas where the electric was shorting out we now have an excellent current flowing through the wire and 700 sheep enclosed!
Ragwort pulling has also begun, although it is not such an onerous task as last year! Phew. Although we do have the additional pulling task of willow herb which is growing on the islands in front of the new reception building to give you all the best possible view of the birds!
Another project which we have just started is the mowing of 10ha of hard rush around IMF1 and other places on the reserve to try and open up the wetland for breeding waders and wintering wildfowl. We have also organised for the cut rush to be removed and for the area to be weed wiped at the end of summer. Weed wiping will only target the rush ensuring the other vegetation is not affected.
Bird updates include good sightings of young green woodpecker, 200 black tailed godwits, 400 lapwing, hobby and water rail in front of the hide with young
Parkgate is an amazing place for wildlife with nature lovers coming from miles around to see the dramatic high tide spectacles. However, not all of the wildlife is popular with visitors to the nature reserve. For a number of summers, many people have been attacked by mosquitoes.
Now there is a natural sustainable solution that will not only reduce the number of mosquitoes but also improve the habitat for the birds that spend the winter on the estuary.
The machine will de-silt the main drainage ditches on the famous Parkgate marshes and also create several new pools.
This work has been carried out with generous funding from The RSPB, Cheshire West & Cheshire Council, Neston Town Council and The Parkgate Society.
RSPB Dee Estuary Site Manager, Colin Wells says: "This is a fantastic example of everybody working together to arrive at an acceptable outcome - the numbers of mosquitoes will be reduced as we remove their breeding habitat whilst the new open water areas will undoubtedly provide excellent areas for thousands of birds."
Previously the marshes had been sprayed on a regular basis which was both extremely costly and damaging for the environment.
Mayor of Neston, Cllr Martin Barker said: "Why waste taxpayer's money on a short-term, costly and environmentally unsound spraying regime? This exciting new project will last for years and has proven to be successful in the USA.
"This will also benefit the local community and businesses with what we hope will bring increased tourism to the area."
The digger will carry out the work over the next few weeks at a time that is least likely to unnecessarily disturb wildlife.
To find out more about RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserves visit www.rspb.org.uk/deeestuary or phone 0151 336 7681.
A large tractor will be present on site over the next couple of days as work begins on thinning out certain areas of dense rush.
As part of our ongoing management work this will make Inner Marsh Farm a better place to nest if you happen to be a wading bird. In addition our over-wintering wildfowl will benefit from having even more areas in which to graze.
The only downside to this work is that YOU the visitor may not see as much wildlife as normal whilst this machine works around the pools in front of the hide. However, we promise to get this work done ASAP and get normal service resumed.
The work begun on Monday afternoon and the vast majority of the areas close to the hide will be cut today whilst the reserve is closed to the public thus minimising disturbance to your viewing pleasure.
Feel free to give us a ring to ask where we are up to before you visit - 0151 336 7681
As many of you will be aware the project down at Burton Mere is steadily edging closer and closer to completion....however, we must stress that it is not yet open to the public.
We are urging people to curb their enthusiasm and just hold on for a bit longer to allow us to put the finishing touches in place.
Several contractors are still working on site and various bits are not complete yet some a few individuals have trespassed and in the process they have put themselves and the sensitive wildlife at risk.
If you want the latest news then pop along to Inner Marsh Farm and have a chat or call our office on 0151 336 7681.
Dee Estuary Team