One of the other big jobs was to 'top' the Hawthorns along the river bank fence line, to keep them small and compact for our breeding birds such as Reed Buntings and Linnets, and again to prevent Crows using them for nesting/perching.
Another big task was then tackled, which saw several of the team wade across the water to strim the island at the ‘top pond’. Each year we clear the vegetation off the island to keep the water an open and attractive place for the first returning waterfowl, which also like to loaf in the safety of the island once it’s been cut. With glorious blue skies and sunshine all day we were fortunate to see plenty of wildlife whilst busy working, Brown Hawkers and Ruddy Darters zipped over the island, whilst Peacocks fed on the Water Mint and thistles, and this year’s toads and frogs battled their way through the cut vegetation.
Finally, the team have also been busy helping repair the damage to our swan pipes caused by the winter floods, as well as the more regular and ongoing tasks such as replacing worn mesh, servicing the doors and strimming out the vegetation. Due to the recent hard work, over the last few weeks we have been able to start our autumn waterfowl ringing in style, with two catches in the North Duffield pipe accounting for a total of 45 Mallards, 4 Gadwall and 2 Shoveler – making it one of our better years for catching our two key target species (Gadwall and Shoveler), with totals of 35 and 18 respectively.