The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
A few words from the ChairmanWelcome to your Summer edition of the newsletter. We are only half way into the year and very close to that time of the year when we hold our AGM and decide who is going to run the Society for the next twelve months. It would be great to see some new faces on the Committee, no disrespect to the existing ones; new faces are always welcome along with new ideas. It isn't difficult on the Committee. We hold four to six meetings a year at the Wick Country Park along with our ranger Mark Williams, and plan for the forthcoming work to be done on the work parties which are covered by a willing band of volunteers, mainly Society members. All posts are up for election and anyone can stand for any post - Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, or Committee Member. So if you would like to be involved please do express an interest on the night. You will be very welcome.
The Annual General Meeting will be on Thursday 23rd July 2015 in the Noak Bridge Village Hall, Coppice Lane. The doors will be open at 7pm for a 7:30pm start. The Agenda for the meeting will include reports from the Chair, Treasurer, and the Basildon Council Ranger. There will also be questions from the floor which we will endeavour to answer, and of course the all-importat election of officers and committee members. Wine, soft drinks, cheese and biscuits will follow.
Work Parties - January to June 2015With contractors working in the Reserve during the first three work parties, there were some areas that were not accessible to the rangers and volunteers, so the opportunity was taken to carry out a more extensive litter-pick than usual. With few leaves on the trees and bushes it was possible to go further into the undergrowth to remove litter that would usually not be visible.
The main gates have been repaired to refit one of the name plates that had become loose.
One of the contractor jobs was to cut down many of the trees and bushes in part of Thorny Wood to return it to a meadow, and for two work parties the volunteers cleared away cuttings from that work.
A number of old tyres and other long-term large items have been removed.
The last report referred to branch cuttings from the mechanical cutters leaving some of the paths looking crude, but as expected new growth has restored the appearance, and the prolonged wet weather has required plenty of trimming of branches, brush and grass around the Reserve.
It was good welcome new volunteers at the work parties.
At the last work party we spent some time looking at the wildlife in and around the ponds. We were especially pleased at how many species there were to be seen from the Meadow Pond platform at the end of the new boardwalk. The pond had been cleared out during the winter. We also watched a buzzard being mobbed by some crows, which successfully drove it away.
The Common Grey SquirrelAt the beginning of the 1900's there was a surplus of squirrels born to the few that had been introduced to Britain from America. Some of these were released in Regent's Park and Richmond Park. By every law of probability the little explorers ought to have been destroyed, but no, they have increased beyond all reckoning.
From Regent's Park they spread over a great part of Britain, banishing our gentler red squirrels from the woods and becoming such destructive pests that farmers everywhere wage war on them. For all their pretty ways they are wanton destroyers.
Their conquest is not by right of battle; apparently it accords with Darwin's theory of the struggle for existence. The grey seem more enterprising than the red, and observation suggests that they plunder the stores of the English species, leaving the latter to starve and retreat. The squirrel has the daintiest nest in which to winter, snug and secure in a tree. So long as it is well conditioned it sleeps away the day and night. When hunger urges, it awakes and pops down to one of its storehouses in the ground, extracts its nuts or acorns, fills its rumbling little tummy and goes back to bed.