Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rory's Wood

Today we had a beautiful sunny morning after a stormy night, but all the trees I saw were still standing and the Heronry Lakes were teaming with birds. More importantly, the berries that will feed the birds when the cold weather arrives, were still on the bushes.

Many of the trees still have green leaves and there was a common darter dragonfly still on the wing. Thrushes have been singing for the last two weeks as though it was spring, yet on this day last year, the lakes were frozen and snow was beginning to fall.
The McAdam family work party in Rory's Wood.
It was a good day for some practical work on the Reserve and so it was really nice to meet the McAdam family for their annual get-together in Rory's Wood, which is named after their son.

The base and tank are in place.
Matt Hall is digging the soak-away,
under Matt Johnson's critical eye. 
For many years they planted trees in the wood until we had to ask them to stop. We simply had too many! Now they spend more time tending the young trees and obliterating the non-native turkey oaks. This year I asked them to bring a few more hazels as you can never have too many of them. We use the two year-old shoots to top off our hedges and the small mammals (and the big, fat squirrels) really appreciate the nuts. If you look around under the bushes you can usually find the discarded shells, complete with tooth marks. It's fun to try and identify which mammal or bird ate the kernel.

Meanwhile, up at our yard by the river, the two Matts have been hard at work putting in our new composting toilet. The tank and all the fittings arrived from Wales by lorry and all we have to do is put it all together. We are building the wooden shed over the top ourselves. It will be a real "convenience" for staff and volunteers when it is finished and may cut down the number of rapid trips back to base!