I know that's not the sentiment echoed by all those who are enjoying their summer holiday but for a wetlands reserve like ours, we need more water. Plain and simple.
We've been open for 11 weeks now and by now the reserve should be lush with green vegetation but the lack of rain has left large areas of brown earth in need of refreshment. One such place is at our main entrance on Bodymoor Heath Lane. With the help of Aston Villa (their training ground is next to our entrance), we've landscaped the banking and re-seeded it with grass. But, without water the grass just isn't germinating and is being eaten by birds!
So yesterday our warden Jo and I set about trying to water the bank using an industrial strength pump and a huge water tank on a trailer. The pump had two settings to control the flow, tortoise & rabbit. The former allowed the water to be spread carefully around the ground but the latter gushed water at an alarming rate! Poor Jo was almost knocked off her feet by the sudden spurt and I continued to amuse myself by switching the flow between tortoise and rabbit without warning. Cruel I know, but it made me laugh and I think it amused passers by also. We got the job done though but Jo had to have a change of clothing. Sorry.
This is my first blog post and I am going to hand it over to our work experience students!
My name is Zak and I was at Middleton lakes for two weeks on work experience. I found the reserve excellent to work on, and totally enjoyed my experience! I learned loads about wildlife, and found all the animals and insects were living happily on the reserve. I also helped with some school groups visiting the reserve and found the lessons the RSPB staff were teaching were very informative but fun, too. There are lots of spaces for families visiting, but also places for birdwatchers. This reserve seems to be able to provide a good experience to anyone that comes along! I would recommend the reserve to anyone that has a passion for wildlife or anyone that just wants to be outside.
My name is Liam and I was on the reserve for two weeks work experience and I found that working on the reserve can be quite hard work because I did things like putting up fences and pulling out Himalayan Bolsom and I was also helping with education groups which I thought went well and we did things like preparing the equipment we are going to need and laying out the welly’s in size order
Its been great to share our reserve with some young people this past 2 weeks. Thanks to them for their hard work
Becca (Lifelong Learning Officer)
It must be a sign of the popularity of our reserve that we've already had to have our main car park footpath resurfaced. The work may cause a short term inconvenience as we've had to close the path through Villa Wood and along on to the farm track crossing by the heronry. Sorry. However the finished path will be a whole lot more manageable for everyone, especially for buggies and wheelchairs.
The title says it all really. I arrived on site this morning thinking the car park would be empty and any potential visitors would have looked outside their bedroom windows, seen the rain hammering down and decided to stop in bed. Easy day I thought. Catch up with paperwork I thought.
No way Jose! The car park was crammed with cars, people, waterproofs, umbrellas - was this a retake from the 'Singin' in the rain' movie?
Among all the clamour were 22 very eager Beavers from the Acorn Beaver Group. They were here to do stream dipping and then take part in our reserve Treasure Hunt! Since we set up the hunt in May we have been inundated by visitors wanting to take part. The Treasure Hunt takes you all over the PlayMeadow and Woodland Trail and is great fun. Devised by our Life Long Learning Officer, Rebecca (this lady sometimes adopts the mental age of 8 years old so that she can make her games so much fun), the Treasure Hunt should not be missed this summer holiday!
Do you have a Wild Thing to entertain over the school holidays? Maybe even more than one? Read on...
For two weeks in August, RSPB Middleton Lakes' education team is running a holiday club for all those who enjoy exploring nature, getting muddy and helping wildlife.
We've got a fantastic programme lined up for each week (so much so that other members of staff at the reserve are getting jealous and wish they could join in): pond-dipping, invertebrate-hunting, shelter-building, scarecrow-making, natural art, some practical conservation work, and an origami duck race in Langley Brook, among much more...
The club will run Monday to Friday, 9 am-3.30 pm each day. The first week, 15-19 August, will be for ages 8-11; the second week, 22-26 August, for ages 12-14.
You can book in your Wild Things for particular days or for a full week, whichever suits best. If booking per day, it's £18 for RSPB members and £19 for non-members; per week, £85 for RSPB members and £90 for non-members.
For full details, including a programme for each week, please email email@example.com or call the reserve on 01827 259 454.