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Archive for the ‘Ponds and lakes’ Category

This past weekend was our final residential weekend of the year, working for the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers.  On Saturday we were on the shores of Tittesworth Reservoir, creating a willow hedge to prevent walkers and dogs from disturbing an area using by ground-nesting birds.  On a very wet Sunday we were at a different nearby site, this time enhancing the habitat for willow tits by creating standing deadwood.  An excellent trip – in spite of the rain and a recalcitrant fire alarm in our accommodation!

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As in previous years we today worked with the Friends of Chorlton Meadows to maintain an area of open water in the reed bed here.  The reed bed and surrounding area continue to be one of the most diverse parts of the meadows: kingfisher, reed warbler, sedge warbler, water rail and the fastest declining British native species, willow tit, frequent the area. Throughout the summer large numbers of damselfly and dragonfly were hawking over the adjacent meadow.

Recently a local bird group ringed a sedge warbler. The same bird was caught again thirteen days later on the south coast having travelled over three hundred miles. Sedge warblers winter south of the Sahara desert.

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Our first activity of 2017: some work on the willow groynes at Chorlton Water Park!  These groynes are important in protecting the banks from erosion and providing a valuable wildlife habitat.  There was only a small band of volunteers out today but a pleasant misty winter’s day and some good work done!

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Today SACV were out in Priory Gardens on behalf of City of Trees. The main activity was the building of a hibernaculum – in this case, one close to a pond which it is hoped will provide a habitat for newts, frogs and slow worms!

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Today SACV members were out with the Friends of Chorlton Meadows.  We haven’t worked on this pond for the past couple of years, but as in 2012 and 2013 our task was to clear some of the reeds and overhanging willow in order to maintain an area of open water.  Without this, the pond will continue to close in and silt up, and might gradually cease to be the important habitat it is, including for the variety of birds – such as reed warbler, reed bunting, water rail and willow tit – which can be sighted here.

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Today we were back at Chorlton Water Park to continue work on the new wildlife garden being created here in conjunction with the RSPB.  We planted a few wildlife-friendly trees and shrubs and finished building a flowerbed mound where our plantings included flowers such as cowslip and ox-eye daisy.  We then helped finish the bog garden around the new pond – and added wetland plants such as marsh marigold, water avens, ragged robin and flowering rush.

It was good to see the willow arch (which we constructed in December) looking healthy and sprouting well, fulfilling its function as the entrance to this developing wildlife area!

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A day at Chorlton Water Park on Sunday 13th December marked the end of SACV’s activities for 2015.  We worked on maintaining the willow groynes at the edge of the lake, which provide an important habitat for birdlife and spawning fish; using the cut willow, we then created a willow arch which will provide a living entrance to the new wildlife garden being created in conjunction with the RSPB.  Then, to finish the day, we had our annual Christmas get-together with plenty of mulled wine and seasonal delights – all of that, plus a 40th birthday to celebrate!

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