Productive woodland work

Productive woodland work

As you walk around the Nature Reserve at Rutland Water this winter, you may have heard the dulcet tones of a chainsaw and seen plumes of smoke rising.  A lot of our habitat management through the winter months is, as the habitat volunteers call it, dragging and burning!  This could be anything from willow coppicing on the bunds to thinning within our woodlands to various kinds of hedgerow management.  A lot of the material that comes out of this work can be used within other forms of habitat management or to generate an income for the Wildlife Trust. Many logs are stacked into habitat piles Brash piles also creates favorable habitat Many logs are stacked into habitat piles.  These will rot down in the damp dark conditions within the log pile, providing perfect conditions for invertebrates which are necessary for the pollination of plants and are also a vital food source for other wildlife to include small and large mammals as well as birds.  We also spend many of the summer months collecting in timber, sawing it into manageable rounds and splitting into firewood.  This in then bagged up and sold at the birdwatching visitor centre as sustainably produced, local firewood, generating money for the Trust that will go back into funding management on the Reserve.   The brash generated from the woodland management work is also used to form habitat piles and dead hedges.  These create a valuable habitat for invertebrates and mammals as well as a good nesting habitat for migrant birds such as Blackcaps and Willow Warblers.  The resident Robin and Wren will also benefit.  Smaller...
Tales from the Trainees

Tales from the Trainees

For this blog we have gone with the saying ‘pictures speak louder than words’ and decided to present our work through photos! This month we have been testing our carpentry skills. Rutland Water must be famous for the amount of bird hides there are on the reserve – 35 in total (has to be a record?!). Each year it is planned to replace around two hides. This year it was the turn of Deepwater and Swan Hides, both located at Lyndon. Swan Hide was selected as our project. We were lead in this task by long-term volunteers Dave Cole and Ron Follows (expert hide constructors!). Through the selection of photos below we aim to show you the hide building process. Firstly, the floor… Now time to build the frames for the walls… Cladding the walls; it’s hammer time… That’s one side done… Now on to the window flaps… Bolting the sides together… It’s getting there… “Can you just hold this for a second?” Ready to transport to Lyndon… Nice legs… for the benches… Fitting the window flaps… Fixing the roof… The next step… was the step… and the door… The finished item!! I spy some TROs enjoying the new hide! Always important to clean up at the end of the day! That’s all for now folks. Tune in next time for more carpentry capers! Amy, Barnaby, David &...
Hedgerow havens for wildlife

Hedgerow havens for wildlife

If  you have walked around the nature reserve recently, you may have noticed a few changes, in particular, in some of our hedgerows.  The most noticeable difference is probably the ‘blackthorn arch’ on the way to Redshank hide.  This patch of unmanaged blackthorn hedge had been allowed to spread right up to the path edge forming a thick, thorny thicket which had become less valuable to breeding birds over the years.  It wasn’t many years ago that  a Lesser White throat would return to this patch singing for his territory each summer, but he has now moved on to more favourable habitat.  So, after a few days hard, thorn battling work from a thoroughly determined group of outdoor volunteers….what a transformation!!  From a dark, impenetrable mass of thorn with the odd Dunnock hopping about to an open sun trap with stacked timber that will be allowed to rot down.  Butterflies and other insects will bask in the sun in the Spring and Summer months.  Chiff chaffs and Willow Warblers will find huge amounts of food in the form of insect life and in a few years’ time, once the thorn has regenerated to create a more useable thicket with plentiful insect life, the Lesser Whitethroat may well return. From this… …to this Another hedgerow that has seen a little bit of TLC this winter is one that runs between lagoon 8 and a grassy ride before a neighboring piece of woodland.  The hedge is a hawthorn one and has become very tall and leggy.  As a result, very few bird species were using the hedgerow to feed through the winter...
Gardener

Gardener

We have a fantastic opportunity for new volunteers to join us, as part of our wildlife gardening team! We are looking for volunteers with knowledge of gardening and/or native flora, an enthusiasm to work outdoors and a love of wildlife and wild places to join our regular Wednesday morning gardening team. As a garden volunteer you will have the opportunity to work on a project which might not be attainable in your own back garden. You’ll need to enjoy practical, outdoor work. Creativity and an eye for detail will help you to join our vision to grow gardens that offer enjoyment and interest all year round. It is the nature of the role that tasks and responsibilities can be unpredictable and varied. You could be involved in planting, pruning, weeding or moving plants. As with many of our volunteer roles, you may also be approached by visitors who want to ask questions about the garden or are looking for general gardening tips – so it’s also a great way to share your love for horticulture (and pick up some ideas of your own). Click on the link below to view or download the role description: volunteer-gardener-job-description If you would like to get involved, email Holly on volunteering@rutlandwater.org.uk or telephone her at the Volunteer Training Centre on 01572 720049  ...
A Wild Skills Production

A Wild Skills Production

Team Wild Skills began 2016 with a large and promising group of individuals, who braved the snow to meet at the Volunteer Training Centre on a cold Sunday morning. It was great to see everybody who was a part of the group before Christmas, and also to meet new people who hope to join us in future sessions. Everyone fitted in perfectly and really got involved with the task in hand for the morning in true Wild Skills spirit! Our first task was to think of how we would make a video about Wild Skills in order to promote what we actually do around the reserve, and why we as individuals make the effort to come down once a month to carry out these tasks. This included drawing up mind maps to link ideas together to give ourselves a clear idea of what we want to share about ourselves. We came up with some key messages to describe what Wild Skills is all about: Wild Skills is a pioneering and unique opportunity for young people to get involved in conservation, making a tangible difference to wildlife and the reserve, whilst developing skills (as a team). (With cake). It is for everyone, all backgrounds. It’s great fun. A “win-win” situation. Providing a unique opportunity for young people to give back to their community. The future is now. Uniting young people through wildlife. Engage people now to ensure a future for wildlife. Next, we thought about the logistics of making a video; who would film, where would we film, what the people being filmed will say…. We split into groups of...

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