February 2020 Update

In the last few weeks, we have been able to focus on scrub and tree management in the reserve. We have cut back the scrub that borders the grassland opposite the zigzag path at Ashlawn Bridge. The subsequent regrowth that we get will give a more layered approach between the grass and the tree line. This new regrowth will be denser, providing a much better environment for small birds. The bare earth beyond the upper line of the grass in the picture shows some of the area that has been cleared.

Cut back scrub above the grass line

The patch of grey in the foreground of the above picture are the feathers of a pigeon. This is probably where a sparrowhawk has feasted on its kill.

We have also opened out the glade at the Blossom Way entrance and thinned out the tree coverage around the pools. This will allow more sunlight to reach the water, bringing some warmth for the frog breeding season. We have used the cut material from this work in dead hedging. Some has gone into the glade. We have also restored the dead hedge that borders the path pool. The pool hedge will help prevent unwanted dog intrusion into the pool. The bulk of this dead hedge was completed prior to the frog arrivals, but finishing off took place while the frogs were watching us.

The pictures below show some of this season’s frog activity and the newly restored hedge alongside the pool.

The reserve has a lot of dead and decaying wood, which in turn can show some fascinating fungi. In one shaded and damp tree covered section, we have a pile of decaying cut scrub. The more decomposed material is now showing the emergence of Elf Cups ( Sarcoscypha). You need far edge more knowledge than I possess to distinguish between the two forms of Scarlet and Ruby. Colour is not a good guide! Just enjoy the pictures: