The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Hello and welcome once again to what's going on in your Nature Reserve. Lots to read this issue, four pages in all. I hope you find it interesting.
On February 21st we installed the new bench in memory to Betty Haynes. The Bench now stands in the centre of the Reserve opposite the Bird Table. As you can see below it is a lovely bench and very different to the other benches sited in the Reserve.
Betty's son David and Daughter Chrissy trying out the new bench
Much of the cost to the bench came from the donations made in the collection box in the Costcutter shop. Many thanks to Logan for allowing the collection to be held there and obviously thank you to all who contributed. We also received a further £65 in donations on the day, so the total donations covered half of the cost with the rest coming from the Nature Reserve Purse. It was a touching moment when the bench was set, with Betty's son David and her daughter Chrissy there for the occasion. A photographer from the Echo newspaper came along, but if you saw the article please disregard the caption they put underneath the photo; that was from a different story entirely. We thank the staff from Wat Tyler Park for their valiant work in installing the bench for us. We now have plans to replace the vandalised bench at Willow Pond; this will be a basic style bench with added footings in place to hopefully prevent a recurrence of the vandalism.
The Goldfish that have been added to the ponds by an unknown donator are to be moved to a more suitable environment; they do not suit the ecology of our ponds as they kill off many of the natural inhabitants plus they have little chance of surviving long term in our ponds with the fluctuating water levels. Whilst the water levels are low we have had a mini digger in to clear the bottom of some of the ponds of debris etc.
We will also be installing a second notice board at the High Ridge entrance; enquiries have been made as to the cost and delivery time.
We will be installing a couple of Hibernaculums in the Reserve. These will provide habitation for some smaller animals and insects. There will be more on that from Mark at the AGM, which will be held in the Village Hall in Coppice Lane on Thursday 26th July at 7pm. Notices will be put on the Notice Boards in the Nature Reserve and in the Costcutter Store in Coppice Lane closer to the date.
The monthly work parties since October have been mainly devoted to clearing a wide enough path for a tractor and equipment to access the East Meadow. At the other end of the Reserve we have also cleared an access into Camberwell Copse to enable us to clear the undergrowth. We have also be carrying out the usual cutting of long grass around benches, general tidying and litter picking, which as usual is a never ending job. A number of people have reported seeing muntjac deer in the Reserve from time to time; we are not wholly sure whether they are resident or visitors to the Reserve. I like to believe they are resident; I've seen one whilst walking my dog and Lesley saw a mother and Fawn one day last year.
Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) - history and current status
At least seven species of muntjac are known, with a natural distribution from Pakistan to Java and north to mainland China. Two species have been introduced to Britain in the past. The larger Indian Muntjac was brought to Woburn Park in about 1900. After a short time it was removed from the park but a small population survived in the wild until 1925. The smaller Reeves' Muntjac was introduced before 1900 and flourished, rapidly spreading into surrounding areas. There is no evidence that the Reeves' hybridised with the Indian species while it was present. The spread of the Reeves' Muntjac throughout the mainland Britain since 1972 is shown in the distribution map. Records of small colonies outside the main areas suggest human intervention. The muntjac is regarded as an introduced non-native species and its release into the wild is prohibited under Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Owing to their subtropical origin, muntjac are not seasonal breeders. They produce single fawns every seven months, gestation is 210 days and lactation is six to eight weeks. Mating follows quickly after parturition. Muntjac are territorial and the social unit is a family group, with young adults being driven off before the arrival of the next fawn. Males make large scrapes and fray on low branches, mostly using their tusks, rather than their antlers. The tusks are the muntjac's primary weapons, showing its primitive ancestry. Both sexes bark like a small dog at intruders, often continuing for many minutes. Their preferred foods are ivy, bramble, coppice shoots, flowers and seeds of many plants, also fruit, nuts, dead leaves, fungi and market garden produce. They seem primarily animals of dense woodland, although analysis of the occurrence of sightings suggests their habitat preferences are very catholic. Muntjac populations can reach very high densities at which they are known to cause significant impact on ground flora.
Noak Bridge Pond Enhancement
External funding has provided the opportunity to enhance the site's ponds for our amphibian population. This will benefit not just the frogs and newts but also the other flora and fauna associated with ponds and pond margins. The project starts with the deepening and compaction of the base of some of the smaller shallower ponds to enable better water retention. Then the margin of each pond being worked upon (some ponds or sections of ponds will remain unexcavated) is expanded, and the gradient from the edge leading into the pond lessened. The shallow incline enables a greater variety of marginal and aquatic plants to flourish and makes the pond more accessible for our smaller animals. Lastly the newly formed landscape is seeded with native wetland plant species.
Memberships will be due for renewal on the 1st June, still only £3.00 per year. Completed forms and subscription can be posted, or dropped in the post box on the wall (if no reply) at: 144 Coppice Lane, Noak Bridge, SS15 4JS.
Six of the Email addresses given to us have proved unsuccessful. If you have given your email address but are still receiving this in paper form, or if you would like to receive future newsletters by email, please print your email address clearly for us. This will save us the printing costs.
We thank you all for your continued support to the Nature Reserve Society and we would love to see you all at the AGM, Village Hall, July 26th 7pm.
Helping to protect Noak Bridge Nature Reserve