Drip’s last post mentioned that a group of FOG members went round the reserve with Richard Storton from RSPB on Friday. The main aim was to get feedback from Richard on the progress of the reserve (e.g. wetness levels, sward condition, development of vegetation – desirable or undesirable). Overall Richard was most impressed and happy with the way things are developing. His principal concerns are that:
- the sward is too high in West Field (not currently being grazed because the White Park herd are unhappy being split to meet Natural England’s stipulation that only three cattle are allowed here during the breeding season)
- West Field Scrape is too dry because there is probably still a field drain that has not been blocked
- Upper Sowerholme is too dry because of the persistent leak in Anna’s Pool
None of this was a surprise as these problems are already being addressed by FOG.
We questioned Richard about the sudden explosion of water figwort in the marshes in the Hay and Big Meadows, and he will be looking into the causes and consequences of this.
Although concentrating on the state of the reserve, Richard was still alert to the birds. He picked up the call of reed buntings, and then spotted several flitting between Big Meadow and School Pond. He thought there was a good chance they were nesting in the rushes. On the boundary between Big Meadow and Lower Sowerholme he noticed starlings and house sparrows, both including young birds. When we started talking about grey partridge, Richard mentioned that he had seen two pairs in Flora Field a couple of weeks ago when he was sat out in Pony Wood looking for lapwing nests. First he saw one stick its head out above the wheat crop, then they all had a bit of a set-to which gave him a good sight of the others.