Once again we are basking in the aftermath of the fantastic British summer! The reserve flooded again on Saturday and it looks as though the impact on ground and low nesting breeding birds has been pretty devastating. We will be continuing to monitor and assess the impact as the flood waters start to recede, which thankfully they now are. As usual there will be lots of flood debris to clear up and paths to repair. The Visitor Centre and main car park are open as normal today and the reserve is accessible from Fairburn village and Back Newton Lane. The road between the reserve and Allerton Bywater (or should that be Allerton Underwater?!) is still flooded but should be passable by tomorrow.
There have not been too many wildlife sightings but I did see my first Banded Demoiselle of the year by the Kingfisher Screen this morning and several Hobbies have been hawking the various dragonflies and damseflies when the sun puts in a brief appearance. Lots of voles, displaced by the flooding, have been seen wandering around the footpaths. Red Kites, Kestrels, Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzards are all capitalising on this sudden glut of furry fodder and a Barn Owl has been seen hunting on the reserve for the last few evenings. The dry stone wall between the Visitor Centre and the car park is coming into bloom and yesterday over 40 different species of wild flower were recorded growing in and around it.
The superb adult White-winged Black Tern is still showing well from Lin Dike hide this morning. There has been no sign of the Ruddy Shelduck so far today but a Garganey has been seen at Pickup and an Arctic Tern on Main Bay
Another busy week in the garden all the rain has caused the launch of everything green and pretty!
When gardening for wildlife, the best spaces are often the untouched areas. So in the garden you will notice we have left longer areas of grass, certain areas of nettles and other wild plants.
These au naturale areas, are brilliant for our wildlife as they allow them to remain un-disturbed.
This is also a great indication of nature at work. We would strongly encourage you to leave an area in you garden a little "wild" too!! Watch and see what can then appear in your garden, you will be amazed.
This will then show you the kind of things that are most suited for your garden . In fact the "weeds" we often come across are usually the most beneficial to our wildlife, although these are the first we tend to remove. Our advice is just sit back and relax! Let them come, and observe the natural beauty they possess.
The pond is now becoming more wildlife friendly, with the introduction of some native oxygenators like Starwort and Hornwort. These grow within the pond, creating habitat for pond invertebrates to live and grow. Marginal plants ( plants that grow in the shallow areas around the pond) were also introduced such as Purple Loosestrife, and Marsh Marigolds.
Not only will these look beautiful, but they will greatly enhance the pond as a wildlife habitat.
As always we would love to hear your thoughts! We will always respond to any queries and comments.So if you like what you have read here, why not come visit us at the reserve! You can then see some of the other things the RSPB are doing to help nature out.
See you soon!
Teresa and Louise