Friday, 15 November 2013

Escaping the desk

I treasure the days when the outside work coincides with fantastic autumn weather. When I am working with the students from Abingdon and Witney College Pathway Programme as well that is a double bonus. If ever you are feeling jaded with life come and join them; their enthusiasm is infectious. We were continuing with coppicing in the shelter belt along the north shore of Standlake Common Nature Reserve. Some of the students started on this last year but the flooding from November onwards put a stop to any practical work there over the winter.
Dan and Jack were working with saws and loppers for the first time and soon got the hang of it.

Dan was particularly pleased to find the remains of a bird's nest.
William and Tommy are now experienced coppicers and were delighted with the area that they had cleared together.
 As well as practical skills the students are learning to organise themselves and to work as a team. Collecting and accounting for the tools at the end of the day is an important part of their learning experience.
 Then the following day I had another day out with the LWVP volunter group. Colin and Dan had only just cleared two trees that had fallen across the Windrush Path when Ken Betteridge passed by with his Thursday walking group, so we saved them from having to do some hurdling on their way to the Rose Revived. We also carried on with the coppicing which is going to be a long term project over the winter as long as we don't get flooded out again.
You never know quite what you are going to see down on the reserve and as well as the many hundreds of coots, ducks, geese and swans on the lake it was a real joy for us all to end the day with a small murmuration of starlings at sunset. I was at Otmoor on Sunday and although there were much greater numbers there we had a much better display before 'our' couple of thousand birds went down into the reedbed. Small was very beautiful on Thursday. 

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