Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday 13th March 2010

Another glorious morning and the usual 6 Wigeon were grazing the lawn in front of the sailing club. Pochard were scattered across the lake, mostly on the north side of the island with a couple of smaller groups on the west side of the lake. They numbered in the mid 30's. Good numbers of Mute Swans still and plenty of Coots pairing up along the north side.

At the steps a Chiffchaff was singing strongly. This bird seems very mobile around the area of the Rough. 7 Greylag Geese were seen in the south east Corner of the main lake, they left together heading north east. 2 Shelduck passed over, north east.

On Fingers the Great Crested Grebes were mating. 3 Little Grebe were seen and 7 Tufted Ducks were on East Fingers.

A pair of Canada Geese were seen mating near the Beach on the main lake.

Bullfinch were heard by Kramer hide. Long-tailed Tits were seen collecting cobwebs about half way along the woodland walk.

At Fenlake DK put us onto a Little Egret on the lake and JA picked out 5+ Teal with the scope. A Kingfisher flew downstream along the river as we scanned Fenlake.

Little else of note but who cares on a morning like that it's just great to be outside.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sunday 7th March: Coppicing around Priory and Finger Lakes

It was a beautiful sunny and bright spring day which saw a (lucky for us) thirteen volunteers helping to coppice willow on the lake edges at Priory Lake and Finger Lakes.

The fast growing willows are coppiced every two years to keep them to a manageable size and prevent them from shading out the adjacent reedbeds, which are an important habitat for a variety of birds, insects and waterlife. The reedbeds also help reduce erosion of the bank by absorbing the energy of the waves.

The volunteers quickly coppiced the blocks of willow by Priory lake (other blocks will be cut next year). An interested onlooker was park regular Dawn, 83 years young and a former landgirl, who gave their efforts the thumbs up.

The volunteers then moved on to coppice more willow adjacent to the Finger Lakes conservation zone. The photo shows trees being coppiced and the stumps from which new shoots will grow later in the spring.

A useful byproduct of coppicing the willow is the cut material itself. Coppiced willow tends to produce plentiful straight whip-like shoots in the first year which can be used for willow weaving or as binders for hedgelaying. Two year or older coppice can give stout stakes for fencing and hedgelaying or rods for willow spiling (a short woven living willow fence put in the water to protect against erosion; you can see some near the beach at Priory Lake). The photo shows volunteer Sue with some of the cut willow destined to be woven into fence panels to replace old ones by the Kramer Hide.

Once the coppicing was completed the volunteers helped to prepare the cut willow for its variety of uses, sorting it into piles according to length and thickness and trimming off any excess. A local school, a conservation group and our sister park at Harrold-Odell are amongst those also able to make use of the willow.

Once again the Priory Rangers would like to thank everyone for their hard work, so it is many thanks to Henry, David, Gerard, John, Alan, Paul, Dave B, Neil, Gordon, Paul, Sue, Lin and Dave H.

Our next volunteer day is Sunday April 11th when we are replacing some steps into the Fingers Conservation Zone.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sunday 7th March

Joined the volunteer group today to do some coppicing along the edge of the main lake opposite Fingers and around the Crescent. Couldn't have asked for better weather and the group did a great job.

Didn't have much time for bird watching but did have 42 Wigeon over north east. Another 6 Wigeon circled overhead for a while, may have been six of the park regulars. 10 Tufted Ducks (2f) were on East Fingers and a pair of Great Crested Grebes looked like they were nest building in one of the West Fingers reed beds. A third GC Grebe was also hanging around in the same area.

Still good numbers of Mute Swans on the main lake. They were very mobile today, the resident male was chasing around trying to clear his patch.

Look out for report and photo's from the rangers about the Volunteer activities and join us next time keeping the park in good order! See the panel on the right for details of guided walks and volunteer days.