With a disappointing forecast, strong winds and stormy skies, Belinda Lloyd, Assistant Farmland Warden and Jill Jones, Reserve Administrator set off to woman a stall at the Gilsland Show, supported by Ness and Bonnie the dog.
After the ordeal of setting up the gazebo in storm force winds, the team prepared themselves to receive the public and create a work of art, a “willow sheep”. The members of the public bravely turned out and the weather eased, the “willow sheep” progressed and attracted the attention of the passing public.
The show was deemed a success with heavy horses, local livestock, bag pipes, local produce and a busy beer tent.
Our stall enjoyed a good day, with staff chatting to local farmers, bird enthusiasts, lovers of arts & crafts and local families. Many of our visitors were interested in the plight of the hen harrier and our work on the reserve, the children liked our games and wildlife stickers. Exhausted and just a little damp we packed up after the end of a successful day.
The photograph shows Jill Jones and willow sheep keeping stall at the event.
Geltsdale volunteers Amanda and Martin have returned for a fourth year to continue their amazing work monitoring and ringing our whinchat population on the reserve.
This spring/summer they have identified provisionally 81 territories (singing males) with at least 50 of those territories occupied by pairs. 54 colour ringed birds have returned to the reserve from 2012 and/or 2013. The oldest colour-ringed male has had a different mate each season and only one pair have survived together from last year.
The weather throughout May and June was benign, resulting in 44 nests and 22 broods successfully fledging. Unfortunately, 14 broods failed a higher percentage than last year, due to predation of the eggs or nestlings. There are presently large numbers of voles on the reserve, in no small part due to the mild winter. The hillsides are like pincushions due to the number of holes and not surprisingly sightings of stoats and weasels have been high. The increase in number of predators has meant that whinchat nests were more likely to found than in “normal” years and hence the high level of nest predation.
Geltsdale is one of the best places to see this summer migrant, the photographs with this posting were taken by John Proudlock at the reserve.
Come and join RSPB Geltsdale for an afternoon of family fun at Hallbankgate Primary School on Saturday 12th July.