February Reserve News

February Work Day

  We had a really successful work day on Monday 12th with 14 pairs of hands helping out. On this day and also the the 8th January we were pleased to be joined by teams from LM (a joint venture formed between Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Ltd) to carry out the HS2 Enabling Works North contract. They set aside days every year to volunteer on community projects and we were glad to have them on board. With their help we completed all of the jobs on the list below. Jobs included;

• Putting up Willow Tit log nest boxes • Nest box cleaning • Removing fallen trees off paths • Continuing the coppicing program • Screening bunds at New Bay.

 The Willow Tits were a priority. So we’ve strapped dead stumps to trees to increase the available nesting opportunities and coppiced the area behind Rudd Pool which hasn’t been done for several years and is known to be attractive to Willow Tits.

 Some unfortunate souls had the privilege of mucking out the owl and other nest boxes, ready for the new season. Additionally several new owl boxes have been put up around the reserve and Kevin Whiston made use of the kindly donated(?) box left in the car park and put it to good use as a potential Mandarin Duck box. Let’s hope they find one of the two options to their liking.

 All of the brash from the coppicing wasn’t wasted. Stacked on to trucks and trailers if made it’s way round to New Bay and we began to improve the screening around the newly created bund. It has really made a difference, the birds didn’t move yesterday as I walked past. There is still some left to do but it’s a vast improvement and will mean the birds can feed in peace.

 It wasn’t all plain sailing though, the tractor got stuck! It had to be saved by a much bigger tractor. Always stick to the paths when birding otherwise this might happen to you. ( NOTE: The culprit’s face has been blurred to protect his identity).

Oops

Oops

February WeBS Count (Sunday 19th)

 Numbers were down but variety was good. The Great White Egret spent a few hours fishing in the afternoon on Main Pool and New Bay and then briefly at B Pool scrapes. With the Great Crested Grebes back – 2 at Whitacre Pool, 1 on Main and 1 on B Pools – it was beginning to feel spring-like. I managed to find some otter prints along the river bank (photograph below), they really are very active at the moment.

Species List;

Mute Swan 10, Canada Goose 9, Shelduck 3, Mallard 171, Gadwall 124, Shoveler 43, Wigeon 71, Teal 135, Tufted Duck 60, Goosander 4, Little Grebe 10, Great Crested Grebe 4, Cormorant 110, Little Egret 1, Great White Egret 1, Grey Heron 3, Water Rail 1, Moorhen 37, Coot 49, Lapwing 58, Black-headed Gull 27, Lesser Black-backed Gull 4.

Otter footprints

Otter footprints

 More updates this week too of Otters On Film. Firstly a rare glimpse of an otter in daylight, out and about on a freezing, snow-dusted morning plus a couple frolicking in front of the camera and really putting on a show. The Ladywalk Youtube channel is constantly being updated, click here for videos.

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Otters On Film

  Exciting news this week, the elusive Otters of Ladywalk have been caught on camera! Brief glimpses of the beasts have been common over the weeks but not until this week and on three separate dates did they perform for the cameras.

  The reserve is being monitored extensively by Anthony Butcher and Elaine Vincent and we are very grateful for all their hard work in increasing our knowledge of our otters and other mammalian species on the reserve. Anthony below gives us more details:

“Whilst doing our trail cam testing across the Ladywalk reserve we have come across the otters at a number of spots. Often just a brief flash as they pass the trail cam. They seem to be coming in off the River Tame on regular visits and there seems to be possibly three individuals, sex not known at this point. We have identified a number of areas where the otters are scenting. Here are a few pics and video clips of one of the areas we have been monitoring”.

  If you are fortunate enough to spot an otter yourself and/or any tracks and signs of otters, please be sure to record it in the logbooks or contact us via the blog or twitter.

The video clips are available to view here on our Youtube channel: Otter Videos