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Archive for the ‘Ponds and lakes’ Category

Only a hardy few volunteers made it out in today’s rather dreary grey weather.  We were working at Chorlton Water Park on willow groynes at the edge of the lake.  These groynes provide an important wildlife habitat and help to prevent lakeside erosion.

We harvested willow from an existing groyne on one part of the bank and used that to create a couple more small groynes at the far end of the lake.  We also had a chance to see how the groyne we worked on a couple of years ago is now looking very established! 

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For our first weekend away of 2019 we were treated to a a beautiful sunny and snowy landscape on the edge of Tittesworth Reservoir!  Working with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers, on Saturday we were coppicing willow in an area being managed as an important habitat for willow tit.  Then, on Sunday, we returned to the willow hedge that we began in October 2018, and extended it further along the shore.  This barrier, created by a combination of dead hedging and the laying of living willow, is to discourage disturbance by walkers and dogs of an area of the shore important for ground-nesting birds.

Update, May 2019: Back in the area for another weekend, we were pleased to see our hedge thriving and sprouting well!

 

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Well, our activities for 2018 are now over. Our last two outings have been with the Friends of Longford Park on 25th November and with the Friends of Chorlton Meadows on 9th December.

In Longford Park, we helped the Friends with a number of activities for the maintenance of the wildlife garden including seeding wood anemone, foxglove and yellow rattle; coppicing hazel; removing blackthorn which was invading the grassland area; and managing areas of dogwood, rose and flag iris near the pond.

At Chorlton Meadows, the Friends are currently in the process of trying to restore the only remaining area of old grassland. The aim is to re-introduce cattle grazing once the new fence has been completed. Sadly, many years of neglect has resulted in several species invading the field, not least bramble. The cattle will keep the invasive plant species down and allow the rarer plant species to thrive once again. SACV members spent the day working with the Friends in removing the bramble.

Hard work, but well worth it and our efforts were rewarded with an early Christmas soirée after the task, kindly hosted (as in previous years) by Elaine. Thanks to Elaine for the perfect end to the day!

And of course big thanks to everyone who has come out to volunteer with us in 2018!

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Our last two activities have been in Chorlton Meadows (Sunday 28th October) and Birch Moss Covert (Sunday 11th November). The first of these was to help the Friends of Chorlton Meadows with their work on the reed beds, maintaining an area of open water which is important for wildlife.

Next, at Birch Moss Covert, we worked with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust volunteers to prevent woodland encroaching on an important area of low heathland heather. 

For our next activity, we look forward to joining the Friends of Longford Park on Sunday 25th November!

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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!

Update, February 2019: we returned to our willow hedge during our first weekend away of 2019, and extended it further along the shore.

 

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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!

Update, March 2019: While back at Chorlton Water Park we’ve been able to see that the willow groyne is now looking well established!

Established willow groyne

Established willow groyne

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