Readers of last months article will know that I was waiting for the identification of two new fungi I had found on a rotting post in the car park. They were Penisphora cinerea and Coniophora fusiphora, neither have common names, but they do add two to my Rambles List (1243 species).
Fungi, to me, are associated with death and decay, but we are now heading into spring with new growth everywhere. I am really looking forward to this new season, and I think there are great opportunities coming up for me to add new species to my total.
Very soon we are going to see a sight that has been missing from our reserve for nearly 25 years - gorse bushes in flower. At least ten bushes have sprung up out of the old seed bed between the East Trail and Patsy's Reedbed, they are growing quickly, several have flower buds. This is good news for our bees and these bushes may in the future provide homes for species such as linnets, whitethroats, green hairstreak butterflies and gorse shieldbugs.The reserve volunteers have been busy putting up new nest boxes, insect boxes and making log piles. Hopefully these may attract a few more new creatures.It is not long before the reserve moth trap is put on again and there are plans for insect and marine events later in the year. Bird migration has already started, and it is going to be interesting to see if anything in the way of unusual plants or insects turn up after the surge tide last December. These are all potentially good for hunting grounds for yours truly
There is plenty to look forward to this coming year, I can hardly wait for it all to kick off!
I can’t quite believe that I am writing this, but it is my last day at Titchwell. The last six months has flown by like the proverbial arrow and it is time for me to move on to pastures new. I will be taken on a position on the wonderful Farne Islands. What could be more enticing than getting to see a puffin and me on the same bit of rock? My time over the next six months will divided between monitoring all manner of seabirds and helping visitors to the islands understand just how amazing they and the wildlife they support are. It does mean living out there, where water must be bought in and electricity comes from solar panels. I am hoping the last six months in rural Norfolk will have prepared me nicely.
Anyway, my time at Titchwell Marsh has been wonderful. It has been a real pleasure working with everyone here and I will miss this place greatly. From the beautiful winter sunsets to the sound of wardens Paul Eele’s voice gently echoing around the reserve. Titchwell now holds a special place in my heart and I shall be back to visit! My personal highlight would have to be sitting on a bench on the west bank path and being able to see a grey phalarope, long-eared owl and green-winged teal without moving! I’ve seen some wonderful birds and met some equally wonderful people, and wherever I go and whoever I meet I will be recommending them a visit to Titchwell.
Throughout the last couple of months after the storm of the 5th of December, work has been constantly ongoing to get our reserve back to normal. One of our most publicised and successful efforts was the Big Wild Cleanup just before Christmas. We had upwards of 30 volunteers in total and collected around the same amount of one-ton dump sacks of rubbish, plus bin bags and wheelbarrows full! Since then, Ed and I have been steadily bringing back the bags and storing them on the old tank road (which stretches from the main road deep into the reedbed). However this week has been a triumph – not only have we managed to bring the last of the sacks back, but we had two skips delivered.
Aside from the rubbish, another ongoing task has been the collection of timber from the beach boardwalk, dismantled a few weeks ago. This wood will also need to be skipped – the beach boardwalk was originally built in 1992, coincidentally the same year I was born! Most of the timber is rotten from being half-buried in sand, and damaged by being brutally ripped out of the ground by the storm surge. It cannot be safely burned because it has all been treated to prevent wear by the weather. We will be salvaging what wood we can to keep up maintenance of our boardwalks though.
The skips arrived early this morning and, keen to clear some space on our cluttered tank road, Ed and I eagerly headed out to fill them. It soon became clear that despite their size, the sheer amount of rubbish collected would vastly overflow. Plus the wood, and it was very clear we would need a couple more skips. However these have been ordered and (fingers crossed!) we can finally say goodbye to all that litter. I have heard about the amount of rubbish speculated to be drifting around in the sea, and if this is only one tiny percentage of that, I dread to think how much must be really out there, and how many Big Wild Cleanups we would need to tidy up afterwards!
Emily Morgan , residential volunteer