Welcome to our second Newsletter and may I thank all the Members who attended our AGM. It was very encouraging. Hopefully our next meeting will see even more members turning out for us.
We hope to be receiving the long awaited bench for Betty Haynes in the next month and we will let you know when it is to be installed; so keep an eye on the notice board at the Main Gate and the one in the Costcutter Store. It will be a lovely bench and very fitting of Betty's hard work.
Other news, and not so good unfortunately. At Fox Pond, vandals ripped the bench out of the ground, broke it up and threw it into the pond. This has been reported to the Police.
In the main Meadow two separate fires were started with the dried cut grass that had been raked to the sides for the benefit of habitat and wildlife, we have reason to believe these were started deliberately and were again reported to the Police.
Work Parties - The monthly Work Parties since April have improved various areas of the Reserve - the 'living fence' has been completed on the boundary of the glade by Puckles Pond and branches of trees and bushes have been trimmed back alongside paths at the main entrance.
The bench and some large branches that were thrown into Fox Pond have now been removed and litter has been collected from around the Reserve. Warning signs that have disappeared from the ponds have now been replaced, but an attempt to measure the depth of water in the ponds had to be abandoned after it took two of us to pull the volunteer measuring the water out of the mud at the second pond! "I shouldn't laugh really"
And, late one Sunday morning in early April our Ranger, Mark Williams, hosted a bird walk around the reserve which was enjoyed by a small but very enthusiastic group, we look forward to the next one.
A Slow Worm is silver or bronze; a black lined legless Lizard that is commonly mistaken for a Snake. Its head though unlike that of a snake is blunt in shape and Slow Worms also have eyelids, a feature lacking in the former. Slow Worms are nationally widespread but their numbers are unfortunately in decline. Like all reptiles, the Slow Worm inhabits locations where both open and shade areas occur, thus enabling it to regulate its temperature by moving between the warm-sunny and the cooler shaded spots. It is reluctant to bask exposed in the open preferring instead to heat up under objects heated by the sun.
When not hibernating throughout the Winter within the more secluded parts of the Reserve, the rest of the year the Slow Worm is most likely to be seen if at all, either mid-mornings or mid-afternoons whether actively seeking their pray or more likely seeking to escape from a nearby basking area inadvertently approached by ourselves. The beginning or the end of the day is usually too cool for its muscles to work properly, making the Slow Worm sluggish; thus it stays hidden for safety. While at midday the sun can become too hot and again this leads to the creature hiding, but in this instance to prevent it from overheating.
Noak Bridge Nature Reserve provides a well suited environment with its open rough grassland and fringing woodland. These areas provide for suitable basking whether it's beside the woodland under the leaf litter heated by the sun and fallen woody material or amongst surface grass leaves within the rough grassland swards. Both habitats yield a good source of food where our Slow Worm residents can dine on Slugs, Snails, Spiders and a wide variety of Insects.
Finally, we the Committee would like to say thank you to you all for your support and we wish you: A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.