The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Around the Reserve with the Chairman
Hello, as I walk round the reserve I can only think that after what has been an extremely wet winter, it's good to see some sun at last, so fingers crossed we may yet get to walk around here without our wellies. Fox Pond has been rather more like a boating lake with Janet's bench sitting in the water for much of the winter, Willow Pond has been at its highest for the longest time I have known, and Puckles Pond has had an almost constant stream running from it to the walkway for most of the winter. I think with all the standing water we have been very fortunate not to have lost any trees to the high winds.
At the end of February we received the news that we have been awarded a £10,000 grant from the Basildon Council "Community Investment Fund". This means that we can now go ahead with building two new sets of steps, replacing the fast deteriorating old steps, and also refurbish the plastic waffle grid walkway from both sets of steps to the centre of the Reserve.
We are now looking toward a further grant to continue the work of refurbishing the rest of the lower walkways, installing a boardwalk in the East Meadow round to the Meadow Pond which we are also looking to bring back to life, then towards Fox Pond. So as you are out and about in the Reserve through the summer months, look out for the workers carrying out much of the work - we will also be getting our hands dirty as usual. Please be aware that sometimes there may be machinery working on site. Information will be in the notice boards to say when work will be starting. Hopefully we will have more good news in the Summer Newsletter due out in June.
Puckles Pond with the edge of the dipping platform just visible
The exceptionally long and almost continuous rain over the winter has again raised pond levels much higher than usual, flooding the dipping platform at Puckles Pond even more than it was last winter. Fortunately the chicken wire that was fixed in a Work Party early last year to make it safe has allowed it to remain open, even if it was only with wellies on!
Our monthly Work Parties have been busy with repairs to both sets of steps, some maintenance tasks and improvements since the last report. Litter has been picked up from all around the site, branches and grass have been trimmed alongside paths and by the benches, and a path has been re-opened towards the Meadow Pond as part of a plan to open up a new circular route.
Some donated bat and bird boxes have been installed at suitable positions to encourage bats and small birds to breed in the reserve.
A two page spread of photos and information in the November 22nd issue of the Echo from our Work Party three days earlier showed a good range of the work undertaken during the Work Parties, with many smiling faces as well as more serious faces as we concentrated on the various tasks in hand.
The recent discovery of two patches of snowdrops in the woodlands suggests that spring may be on the way!
We will always welcome new volunteers to the work parties. The work is very varied and tools are provided. Old clothing and suitable footwear is recommended as are your own work gloves. The work parties run on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, January to November, from 1pm to 3pm. Meet at the main gate at 12.55pm. Come along, introduce yourself and help a worthwhile cause. You will be very welcome.
You will hopefully be lucky enough have a resident Robin in your garden. We have one in ours; we also have one in the Nature Reserve. He can often be seen around the centre of the reserve, on the brick wall or near to the bird feeding table.
The ROBIN (Erithacus rubella). An article sourced by Tina Steggles.
For generations, the Robin has earned its place as Britain's best-loved bird and is present all year. It is noted for its tameness in town and city gardens and often searches for food around the feet of gardeners who are turning over the ground. It will even eat meal-worms straight from the hand, although it will sometimes behave secretively, especially during the late-summer moult. Away from habitation however, in woodland and other areas of countryside, the robin is more wary. On the Continent it is a shy and retiring bird.
It is extremely possessive of its territory and guards it fiercely from other robins. The male birds are vigorously aggressive in territorial disputes. The nest is built entirely by the female and is usually hidden amongst thick ivy on trees or walls or among roots or undergrowth on banks. Nests are also commonly found inside sheds and other buildings. Saucepans, old tins and the like are also readily commandeered for nesting.
Breeding begins from late March in the South to June in the North. A clutch usually consists of five to six eggs, which are incubated by the female for 12-15 days. Young birds leave the nest after about two weeks. The male may take over the feeding and care of one brood if a second clutch follows quickly. Young birds have speckled plumage and look like juvenile nightingales, but their tails are darker and shorter. The robin has a loud, penetrating 'tic-tic' alarm call and a thin, rather sad but sweet warbling song, consisting of short phrases. The cock robin's pleasant warbling, heard all year except during late-summer moulting, is a reminder of its claim to a territory.
The adult bird's red face and breast with pale grey border identify it easily. Its upper parts and tails are brown, and underparts whitish. Sexes are alike and approximately 14 cms long.
Annual General MeetingThis Years AGM is on Thursday 24th July 2014
at the Noak Bridge Village Hall, Coppice Lane.
The doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.
Any member is welcome to stand for election to any position within the Committee. Nominations will be very welcome and should be addressed to:
c/o 144 Coppice Lane, Noak Bridge, SS15 4JS
Nominations to arrive no later than Thursday 17th July 2014.
(Membership renewals will be due on 1st June. Forms will be out soon.)