Friday, 20 December 2013

Volunteers love a bonfire

Wherever  possible we try to stack any brash into habitat piles to decompose and provide refuge for invertebrates and small mammals. But the amount arising from the hedgelaying at the Standlake Common Nature Reserve was just too much to dispose of any other way. Volunteers never say no to a bonfire, especially when potatoes and sausages are on offer. The hedgelayers are doing a brilliant job and there will be photos of the completed hedge early next year. 

This huge pile of reeds was also too much to leave lying around. We already have a large amount piled up at the edge of the field in the hope of attracting grass snakes when it gets warmer. Then we will be generating another heap in February when I am hoping to hold a training course for scything reeds if we are not knee deep in flood water. The course will be led by Clive Leeke for LWVP and BBOWT volunteers and staff. Scything is proving to be a very effective way to manage the relatively small areas of reedbed for which we are responsible. It is desirable to cut blocks of reed each year so that there is a diversity in structure across the reedbed, but the cut reed needs to be removed to reduce the amount of nutrient enrichment from the decomposing material. It is always a battle to keep nature at bay and without this management the reedbed would turn into willow carr in just a few years.
We have had reedbunting nesting in the reedbed this year and reed warblers and sedge warblers recorded on site so even this small area is providing some good habitat for these species.

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