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Archive for the ‘Reed beds’ Category

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of John Agar on 17 April 2020.  John was a very committed and enthusiastic member of SACV and right up until recent weeks he was a stalwart of the group, for many years our most frequent volunteer.  John was out with us most recently at Chorlton Water Park on Sunday 1 March, where he busily got stuck in to the construction of a willow arch.

John had a passion for the natural world and conservation and he especially enjoyed having more time to indulge these interests in later life.  In former years, John was a fixture on our residential weekends in the Peaks, until he “retired” from weekends away in 2013.  On those weekends, John continued his working life’s habit of very early starts, so by the time the rest of us were up John would inevitably have been for a walk to listen to the local birdsong as well as got the breakfast porridge, tea and toast on the go!

John was a founder member of the Friends of Chorlton Meadows, a group we have worked with many times over the years.  Having lived in Chorlton all his life, John was a source of fascinating memories of the changing local environment.

Since the loss of John, tributes have come in from the volunteers who have worked with him over the years: it is clear he was held in huge affection and warm regard, a vocal advocate for the natural environment, infectiously enthusiastic and always willing to share his knowledge with others, warm and welcoming to volunteers of all ages, good-humoured and good company.  He will be greatly missed.

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Today we were back at Chorlton Water Park.  There was a good crowd of us so we were able to work on a couple of different things, but mainly some maintenance of the willow groynes at the edge of the lake which we have worked on several times over the years.  These groynes are important in preventing erosion of the lakeside and in providing a habitat for birds and for spawning fish.

We also cut encroaching saplings from among the reed beds and used some cut willow to strengthen and maintain the arch by the wildflower area.

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Yesterday we were back in a familiar pond in Chorlton Meadows and with familiar company: members of the Friends of Chorlton Meadows, of course!  We’ve worked here several times in the past, and once again were clearing reeds to maintain an important section of open water, in order to keep this habitat as diverse as possible.

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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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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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Yesterday was a surprisingly hot late September day – a great day for some of us to be out in Chorlton Water Park!  Trees have been encroaching into the reed bed at one end of the lake, to the detriment of this valuable wildlife habitat.  Our task for the day was therefore to clear some of these and prevent the degeneration of the reed bed.  A job well done – and we’ll be back here in January to work on some of the willow groynes, which are beneficial in protecting the lake banks from erosion and also provide an important habitat.

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This weekend has been the RSPB‘s Giving Nature a Home Festival in the Mersey Valley.  As part of this, SACV volunteers were out in Chorlton Water Park yesterday to undertake a practical conservation task and help those attending the festival see the kind of useful work they can get involved in!  The work was to help manage the reed beds in the bay of the lake by cutting back some of the regenerating willow and also to carry out repairs to the chestnut paling which helps to provide the reed beds with some protection from passing dogs.

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Today we conservation volunteers were at Chorlton Water Park.  We were at a different part of the lake from where we worked at our task in December, but once again we were helping the Mersey Valley Wardens by removing encroaching trees from an area adjacent to one of the lake’s reed beds.

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Sunday 9th December saw SACV’s last event of 2012.  Thirteen of us turned out to help the Mersey Valley Wardens with work on the reed beds at Chorlton Water Park – to help maintain this important habitat by removing encroaching trees.  The wintry task had its reward afterwards in our annual SACV seasonal get-together with mulled wine, mince pies and a roaring brazier (all courtesy of Elaine).  Merry Christmas!

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