The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Newsletter - Spring 2018
Around the Reserve with the ChairmanOn my visits into the Reserve I cannot but marvel at the solitude which it offers, and is yet further confirmation of the oasis which is on our doorstep - how wonderful.
During the past winter months the plant life and vegetation has died back which has made the Reserve in certain parts look quite bleak, however the recent period of snow brought a different and very beautiful dimension to the Reserve.
Water levels within the various ponds are still very low except for Puckles which is up to the viewing platform level and Meadow which is full and thriving. Fox is showing an increase, although this is probably an eighth of its full capacity.
Vandalism is still a great concern as replacement of damaged structures and Health & Safety signs takes up members' free time, not forgetting the cost implication. The vandalised handrails on the Spanish Steps and Boardwalk have also been repaired during the last few months. When walking along High Ridge between the Spanish Steps and the Oakley Path Entrance you will now notice that the dead hedge has been extended and is looking very splendid - this is an ongoing project. I need to also mention that it was vandalised on a number of occasions during its construction.
Recently a good housekeeping exercise in liaison with our Ranger Mark Williams was undertaken throughout the Reserve to cut back overhanging or encroaching trees/bushes along the footpaths in readiness for the new spring growth - this activity has totally opened up these areas and allowed more daylight into the Reserve.
Our Eco Container is starting to look very "weathered" and splendid in readiness for installation of the "Planted Biodiverse Roof and Habitation Panels" - hopefully like me you cannot wait for this to be completed.
It appears to me that more dog owners than ever are making use of the Reserve and there are a large number who do not act responsibly and clear up after their pets - this is actually a criminal offence.
Now that spring is on its way all the lovely vibrant colours and wildlife will soon be returning.
Wishing you all a nice springtime within the Reserve.
On the Work Party with the Treasurer - January and February 2018The Deep Water sign that was missing from Fox Pond has been replaced by extending the post in the centre of the pond. It was a tricky job because the mud in the ponds can be very thick and tends to hold onto wellies or waders and could prevent people from getting back out!
It was achieved with the careful use of some pieces of the old plastic waffle grid path sections removed from the walkways during the 2015 upgrade of the Reserve. We laid them as a base to walk on. Entertaining photos and a short video of the "Noak Bridge navy on manoeuvres" is available on the Society's Facebook page!
The Dead Hedge along part of High Ridge has been extended thanks to the wet weather making the ground softer and easier to install more stakes, which were then filled with fallen branches of various sizes.
In February a hand-held hedge trimmer and a tractor with a mechanical flail were used to cut back the growth of bushes and trees overhanging the paths from outside the main entrance and along the road in and along the paths up to both sets of steps. Some manual trimming and clearing away the fallen branches completed the job. It looks brutal but, as we have seen in the past, in the spring there will be plenty of growth and leaves to cover it up.
A Woodpecker has recently been heard in the Nature ReserveThe only species of woodpecker in Britain are the "Spotted (Great and Lesser) and the handsome Green".
Woodpeckers have a great mission in life: it is to find wood-hidden insects and convert them into a banquet, and they also like suet and peanuts. Woodpeckers peck. The beak is a two halved chisel which rips and digs as it is applied with great force and leverage by the bird's powerful head and neck. The tongue is long and pointed and coated with a gluey substance. The tail feathers are stiff and elastic which are a support when climbing about the upright tree trunks.
They creep about the trees and hit with resounding whacks with their tough beaks. Where they have been at work searching for insects there may be a little heap of wood chips and a small hole in the trunk. The sound they make is called drumming and can be heard from January to June.
They do not peck at trees unless they see that the bark has been previously attacked by fungus or disease which allows insects to enter the bark. The eyes of these birds are keener than ours - they detect rot and decay which escapes our notice. By laying open these wounds they reveal to the Woodman the danger the tree is in so he can treat and save it. The cherry seems to be a favourite tree of the Woodpecker. These birds nest in tree cavities and lay around 4-8 eggs. both parents sit on the eggs and both share in feeding the young.
This article was researched by Tina Steggles.
A date for your diaries:This year's Annual General Meeting will be on Sunday 8th July in the Village Hall, Coppice Lane, Noak Bridge from 3pm.
Helping to protect Noak Bridge Nature Reserve