A reedy big project…

A reedy big project…

Before the reservoir was created the northern area of the reserve, specifically the tip of the north arm of the water, was part of a number of fish ponds belonging to the Burley Estate. Among the fishponds were some naturally occurring areas of reed bed. During the early development of the nature reserve in the 1970’s, reeds were transplanted from the fishponds to lagoon 3 where they were nurtured until they became established. Over time the reed spread and today form a dense red bed of Phragmites and Typha (“bulrush”) along the northern edge of the lagoon and supports a wide array of wildlife including overwintering bittern, otters, water voles, water rail,  reed warblers and sedge warblers to name a few. Not only is the reed bed an important habitat for wildlife, it is also an important part of the water purifying process as water enters the nature reserve. As water passes through the reeds it is cleaned by the micro-organism’s living in the root systems (a mix of bacteria, fungi and algae) which digest sewage and cleanse the water – helping to provide optimum water quality for the biodiversity of the lagoon. Over time, reed beds will naturally dry out as plant litter and silt build up, and are encroached by scrub if regular management is not undertaken. Each year our staff and volunteers cut and clear a large section of reed on rotation (to ensure there is still plenty of mature reed available to for wildlife) to ensure leaf litter and dead plant material does not build up. However, during the past 30 years silt has built...
Wild Horizons’ visit Donna Nook NNR

Wild Horizons’ visit Donna Nook NNR

On Saturday 12th November, the Wild Horizons members met at the Volunteer Training Centre ready to depart for Donna Nook National Nature Reserve in Lincolnshire. We were all feeling less than optimistic about the weather forecast for the day ahead- heavy rain with North Sea winds didn’t bode for a comfortable day outside! Fortunately, us hardy folk came fully prepared for the worst, with coats, hats, gloves, scarves and waterproofs. The rain wasn’t going to put us off! We arrived at the reserve after a 2 hour car journey, and donned our outdoor gear. The rain actually wasn’t too bad, and upon seeing the grey seals and their pups at close quarters our spirits were lifted. We met Lizzie Lemon, a friend of the reserve who has previously worked with the Rutland Osprey Project, and now works as the Outer Humber and Coastal Assistant Warden for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. Much of her time is spent with the seals at Donna Nook over the winter months when they give birth to their pups. She gave us a lot of information regarding the seals and their breeding habits, and led us along the coastal path which ran past new-born pups and their mothers, as well as some pretty impressive bulls. It was great to see so many seals and observe the interactions between members of the colony scattered across the beach. Lizzie answered any questions which we had, and gave us an idea of the type of work she carries out at Donna Nook. We then headed back to the car park for a hot drink, before Lizzie led us...

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