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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 08:06   #8876
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoever View Post
One (most likely) last question for today:
I like this little hide at Hen Pool, the first hide on the way to the flashes to the left of the path. Trouble is, are there any sightings sometimes? I have been there twice for about an hour each time, but to no avail. I don't mind waiting longer, if there only seems to be a reasonable chance of seeing something...
Blimey, I had an early night 'cos I was feeling like crap yesterday evening and have missed a classic session of exchanges and banter. Oh well...

The Hen Pool hide is a real favourite of mine too. It's small, the openings are too low. Because of its proximity to the reed bed it can get incredibly hot and not a little pungent. The floor has recently been refurbished which should preclude the occasional visitations of unwanted vermin too.
But all this is far outweighed by the phenomenal opportunities it affords for incredibly close views of all sorts of species. It would take me hours (that I haven't got today) to trawl through the photos that I've taken from this hide but I recall seeing and capturing Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (albeit it only a poor record), Cetti's Warbler (in their day). Several species of Hawkers and the odd vole etc. Furthermore, I have seen the very best photos of grass snakes and Water Rail taken from this hide. Whilst it's is (without doubt) more 'productive' in the warmer months only this last week I have received reliable reports of sightings of Kingfisher and Water Rail from the Hen Brook hide. Don't give up on it, just use it selectively and it'll reward you enormously.

SJV
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 08:08   #8877
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Originally Posted by binus1963 View Post
thought i'd put a few pics on from last few days visits, thought the hide was a lot better than i'd expected it to be, nice to be back on the flashes again, enjoyed reading the thread lately who's on here hayes and chisora! don't ya just love it.
Good shots from a man with a flattened finger! I especially like the GW & the Curlew.

Rob
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 08:14   #8878
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I just remembered that I'd chucked a few Hen Pool photos on to FB... here are a few (all taken by me in the HP hide) as examples of what you can see there (they're massively reduced with a resultant quality reduction)...
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 08:18   #8879
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Originally Posted by kingfisherajh View Post
Can someone please explain why in simple terms for me and others who are confused? I have spoken to a number of members today and expressed my concerns - most of them agree with me! What do other members think?
As a newbie with no particular "affiliations" to anything other than the birds perhaps I can reassure you with some specifics. I originally joined the work parties because of concern regarding the impact of the drought on the Flashes. Not wishing to look an idiot, I'd done some research and, emboldened by informed opinion, I cautiously expressed those concerns to John who was running the particular work party. He was already ahead of me and the whole work party was focussed on that particular point anyway.

I have been on quite a few work parties since and everything I have done or seen done at UW over the last few months has been carefully explained and properly motivated - I know because I've looked it up (no offence to John, Phil or Paul - I'm just too curious and like to "know" what I'm doing). I have seen close up how many willows are encroaching into the reeds and the major woodland species which then begin to follow.

As Phil and John have explained it comes off a carefully informed management plan (with maps and everything) which is focussed on maintaining UW as a wetland - which, because of it's tiny size requires much more management than a lot of other reserves. I also know from experience that it is monitored regularly by the WWT officer.

So please let me reassure any doubters out there - unless you come to UW for its woodland and not it's wetland then the independent opinion suggests the work is necessary and appropriate. (A large tree can transpire ("sweat") many gallons of water every week). If you want further reassurance I'd recommend you start by checking out chapters 1, 6 and 7 of Managing Habitats for Conservation.

Personally I don't think we've done enough. Which is why we need all the help we can get at the final work party next week.

Ultimately of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating... all I can say is bring on the Spring!!

Paul
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 08:23   #8880
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Blimey, I had an early night 'cos I was feeling like crap yesterday evening and have missed a classic session of exchanges and banter. Oh well...

The Hen Pool hide is a real favourite of mine too. It's small, the openings are too low. Because of its proximity to the reed bed it can get incredibly hot and not a little pungent. The floor has recently been refurbished which should preclude the occasional visitations of unwanted vermin too.
But all this is far outweighed by the phenomenal opportunities it affords for incredibly close views of all sorts of species. It would take me hours (that I haven't got today) to trawl through the photos that I've taken from this hide but I recall seeing and capturing Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler (albeit it only a poor record), Cetti's Warbler (in their day). Several species of Hawkers and the odd vole etc. Furthermore, I have seen the very best photos of grass snakes and Water Rail taken from this hide. Whilst it's is (without doubt) more 'productive' in the warmer months only this last week I have received reliable reports of sightings of Kingfisher and Water Rail from the Hen Brook hide. Don't give up on it, just use it selectively and it'll reward you enormously.

SJV
Couldn't agree more Sy. I have spent some hours in there seeing very little at all but when the breeding season starts you can get lovely views of birds collecting food for their young. And likewise have seen cracking Grass snake shots from there. In fact I know someone who had a GS sitting IN the hide with him!
The Moors car park (Hobby) Hide is similar. It depends on the time of year I think but there is always 'the potenial' for something different to turn up.

I understand that it can be frustrating to sit for hours for no 'reward' especially if you've travelled some distance or have time constraints but that is the nature of, well nature I guess. All the hides have their good times as well as not so good.

Rob
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 08:26   #8881
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Well said, Paul.
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 08:36   #8882
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I just remembered that I'd chucked a few Hen Pool photos on to FB... here are a few (all taken by me in the HP hide) as examples of what you can see there (they're massively reduced with a resultant quality reduction)...

Yes! That's what I'm talking about!

Lovely shots.

Rob
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 09:03   #8883
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Work parties

I would echo many of the comments made by Beyonder.

I began attending work parties at the North Moors Pool in 1986, where the objective was to coppice and/or remove willows that were encroaching into the reed-bed. As a fairly new birder at the time I hadn't really considered habitat, its management and creation. I just assumed, because I didn't see any work in action, that things remained the in same ideal state year in, year out. However a little reflection on the fact that trees "suck up" water will explain the drying ouit out of the reed-bed and its poor state. This was the start of me actually looking at habitat on other reserves I visited across the country and seeing a correlation with Upton (I did, and still do, mainly visit wetland reserves). The huge reed-beds at Cley, Minsmere, Titchwell, etc could not be replicated at Upton due to the small size of the site, but healthy reed-beds could certainly benefit, which means few encroaching trees/shrubs. The work in the last 25 years or so has, at its foundation, the same logic - if you want a wetland reserve (and after all that is in the official reserve name) then you have to sacrifice certain things on so small a site. This largely means no tall mature trees, and certainly none around the periphery of the pools. however scrub and managed 'woodland' will certainly complement the pools and marshy areas by attracting not only nesting birds but also insect and flora to a more open area. As has been said previously, initial work on large trees does look drastic in the short term, but these will re-grow as you will see during this year and next. Constraints due to other work has meant this work, which often needs outside contractors, has been put-off over many years. However, now this has been addressed, continuing managment of these areas will therefore have less initial visual impact. I think the fact that a number of the regulars, who have either picked this up over the years, or who have taken the time to research the management techniques (see Beyonder's reference to one of the books) means they do get a little fraught at times with the "Oh my god, they've cut a tree down" reaction. However, anyone who wants to have input into the management of the reserve, or just wants to come along and see what it's all about, is more than welcome to join any of the work-parties. At the Flashes these take place on the first Sunday of the month from October-march (with the odd extra one if the work-load dictates). At the Moors these happen every Tuesday throughout the year, with those during the breeding season tailored to avoid disturbing breeding birds - e.g. path maintenance, hide maintenance.

Sorry to have gone on, but hopefully the above will have helped those less regular visitors who can't see why certain works are carried out.

Mike
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 09:36   #8884
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Just a quick note to say that I fully support all the work done by everyone on the work parties and if you disagree with that then reading this thread in full should convince you otherwise!

To show how much the reserve means to me I shall be coming down from York next weekend to help out with the work party (nothing to do with a yank warbler in wales...)

Look forward to seeing everyone one then!

Oh and I tried posting earlier but it didn't work but I had lrp on my campus lake here in York on march 9th last year so for you guys down south it should be a doodle getting on on march 8th which if it's still free would be my best guess to earn the beer!
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 10:06   #8885
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beyonder View Post
As a newbie with no particular "affiliations" to anything other than the birds perhaps I can reassure you with some specifics. I originally joined the work parties because of concern regarding the impact of the drought on the Flashes. Not wishing to look an idiot, I'd done some research and, emboldened by informed opinion, I cautiously expressed those concerns to John who was running the particular work party. He was already ahead of me and the whole work party was focussed on that particular point anyway.

I have been on quite a few work parties since and everything I have done or seen done at UW over the last few months has been carefully explained and properly motivated - I know because I've looked it up (no offence to John, Phil or Paul - I'm just too curious and like to "know" what I'm doing). I have seen close up how many willows are encroaching into the reeds and the major woodland species which then begin to follow.

As Phil and John have explained it comes off a carefully informed management plan (with maps and everything) which is focussed on maintaining UW as a wetland - which, because of it's tiny size requires much more management than a lot of other reserves. I also know from experience that it is monitored regularly by the WWT officer.

So please let me reassure any doubters out there - unless you come to UW for its woodland and not it's wetland then the independent opinion suggests the work is necessary and appropriate. (A large tree can transpire ("sweat") many gallons of water every week). If you want further reassurance I'd recommend you start by checking out chapters 1, 6 and 7 of Managing Habitats for Conservation.

Personally I don't think we've done enough. Which is why we need all the help we can get at the final work party next week.

Ultimately of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating... all I can say is bring on the Spring!!

Paul
Paul no need for me to add to your succinct post, other than I have always invited peoples views and opinions and not just work party members. I have and probably still spend more time explaining and trying to help people understand the principles of wetland management. What we all must remember is that fundamentally Upton warren is as its name suggests a wetland. If the next time you visit an old gravel pit have a look around the periphery, all you will see is bramble willow and alder trees. There will be no grassland and no shore line. This is what happens to wetlands if they are not grazed or managed. I will post some other older pictures asap to show just how things are moving on. Yesterday we were treating the willows in the car park reed bed to stop it being sucked dry in the summer. The scrub/woodland management has ceased 2 weeks ago ready for the breeding season. Remaining tasks are all around the Amy's marsh Broadmeadow complex. Here we are trying to save the ever shrinking wader breeding grounds , principally for Oystercatcher and lapwing. Unfortunately the advancing tide of 1000's of willow and alder saplings in the area and the time to leave it too nature might well win the day. However we will put up a good fight to halt it. It will be at that point of abandonment that the criticism starts. But if this is the overwhelming view and opinion that people want and stop coming to the work parties, then there wont be a lot we can do. However my resolve is stronger than that and I will be the last to give in.
I know a lot of emotion is attached to the cutting of trees, but for those that are not aware of what coppicing and pollarding is, here are some links.
http://www.coppice.co.uk/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding
If I get time I will post more relevant info on management more specific to wetlands
John
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 10:51   #8886
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This morning's birding on the reserve:

MOORS POOL

4 GC Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 28 Cormorant, 18 Pochard, 37 Tufted Duck, 2 Oyk, 6 Snipe, 16 Lapwing, 2 Mute Swan, 33 Shoveler, 175 BH Gull, 81 Coot, 7 Moorhen, 29 Canada G, 2 Rook over, Coal Tit along east track, 7 Teal.

FLASHES
2 Gadwall (pair) on third flash, 30 Canada G, 84 BH Gull, 8 Coot - the return of Coot to the Fklashes is always a good sign that Spring is just around the corner, 7 Moorhen, 7 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, 6 Snipe, Skylark, Herring Gull, 28 Mallard, 3 Buzzard, Goldcrest by the steps, 1 Mute Swan, 87 Lapwing.

SAILING POOL
4 GC Grebe, 2 Shoveler - the first time I can recall seeing this species in this location, 1 Mute Swan, 1 Coot, 1 Cormorant, 1 Lesser Redpoll and 4 Siskin in larches, 25 Mallard.

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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 12:37   #8887
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OK, I've read enough to know that I need to know more. When is the next work party, I will come along and give it a go dates permitting. (Not Sunday).
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 13:06   #8888
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Next Sunday is the last Flashes work party before the breeding season break (which is why we need a mega-turnout as the hide build has left us with loads to do in one session - further compounded by the recent equipment theft), they'll recommence in October on the first Sunday of every month.
Tuesday work parties at the Moors continue all-rear 'round.
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 13:11   #8889
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Cheers Sy. Tuesday it will have to be unless I can work something out.
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 13:44   #8890
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Originally Posted by timmyjones View Post
Just a quick note to say that I fully support all the work done by everyone on the work parties and if you disagree with that then reading this thread in full should convince you otherwise!

To show how much the reserve means to me I shall be coming down from York next weekend to help out with the work party (nothing to do with a yank warbler in wales...)

Look forward to seeing everyone one then!

Oh and I tried posting earlier but it didn't work but I had lrp on my campus lake here in York on march 9th last year so for you guys down south it should be a doodle getting on on march 8th which if it's still free would be my best guess to earn the beer!
Hi mate. Des has got the 8th. 17th and 18th still up for grabs
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 14:20   #8891
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Reserve looked amazing in the spring sunshine this morning. Thought the new hide was very roomy. Great to be back at the Flashes.
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 16:02   #8892
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Originally Posted by Phil Andrews View Post
This morning's birding on the reserve:

MOORS POOL

4 GC Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 28 Cormorant, 18 Pochard, 37 Tufted Duck, 2 Oyk, 6 Snipe, 16 Lapwing, 2 Mute Swan, 33 Shoveler, 175 BH Gull, 81 Coot, 7 Moorhen, 29 Canada G, 2 Rook over, Coal Tit along east track, 7 Teal.

FLASHES
2 Gadwall (pair) on third flash, 30 Canada G, 84 BH Gull, 8 Coot - the return of Coot to the Fklashes is always a good sign that Spring is just around the corner, 7 Moorhen, 7 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, 6 Snipe, Skylark, Herring Gull, 28 Mallard, 3 Buzzard, Goldcrest by the steps, 1 Mute Swan, 87 Lapwing.

SAILING POOL
4 GC Grebe, 2 Shoveler - the first time I can recall seeing this species in this location, 1 Mute Swan, 1 Coot, 1 Cormorant, 1 Lesser Redpoll and 4 Siskin in larches, 25 Mallard.
To add to Phils sightings,

Very spring like with lots of birds giving it the beans.

Moors Pools - Mistle Thrush singing by Lifestyles, 3 Collard Doves, Siskin to Secret Garden area.

Some pics from this morning per the 'My Flickr' link below.

Cheers

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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 16:43   #8893
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Not a lot to add to above sightings, Water Rail showed at the concrete hide lots of vocal bullfinches about. 12 Curlew and 100+ Lapwing feeding in the sewage works field. Hide seems solid light and airy catches and bolts seem noisy but hopefully it will all settle down. Good to be back birding properly at the Flashes
Found a road kill Tawny Owl on the A38 Just past the bromsgrove island coming to upton showed a few people and I have left it beneath the reserve sign in the Moors car park presumably one that had a territory close by Incredible feathering
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 16:54   #8894
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Not a lot to add to above sightings, Water Rail showed at the concrete hide lots of vocal bullfinches about. 12 Curlew and 100+ Lapwing feeding in the sewage works field. Hide seems solid light and airy catches and bolts seem noisy but hopefully it will all settle down. Good to be back birding properly at the Flashes
Found a road kill Tawny Owl on the A38 Just past the bromsgrove island coming to upton showed a few people and I have left it beneath the reserve sign in the Moors car park presumably one that had a territory close by Incredible feathering
A real shame That's another one off the Spring All-day list.
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 17:39   #8895
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hi Sy

I think the second Dragonfly is a male Migrant Hawker

UTW mate

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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 17:46   #8896
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Not a lot to add to above sightings, Water Rail showed at the concrete hide lots of vocal bullfinches about. 12 Curlew and 100+ Lapwing feeding in the sewage works field. Hide seems solid light and airy catches and bolts seem noisy but hopefully it will all settle down. Good to be back birding properly at the Flashes
Found a road kill Tawny Owl on the A38 Just past the bromsgrove island coming to upton showed a few people and I have left it beneath the reserve sign in the Moors car park presumably one that had a territory close by Incredible feathering
Terrible news, the untimely death of any bird is upsetting, an owl especially so, not that I put the life of any species above another, just that they are few and far between

Me and the wife spent a lovely 4 hours on the reserve today, weather was wonderful and the signs of spring were everywhere, we were particularly impressed with the shoveller displays, I have never witnessed that before. No sightings to add to Phils list other than a treecreeper by the Salwarpe, it was noticable how many bullfinches were around, great to see this lovely finch in abundance.

Oh and we bumped into whoever, a nice guy, hope to see him again, it's always nice to welcome new people to the reserve
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 17:52   #8897
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Not a lot to add to above sightings, Water Rail showed at the concrete hide lots of vocal bullfinches about. 12 Curlew and 100+ Lapwing feeding in the sewage works field. Hide seems solid light and airy catches and bolts seem noisy but hopefully it will all settle down. Good to be back birding properly at the Flashes
Found a road kill Tawny Owl on the A38 Just past the bromsgrove island coming to upton showed a few people and I have left it beneath the reserve sign in the Moors car park presumably one that had a territory close by Incredible feathering
If I get the chance and a fox hasn't taken it I'll send it to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. They are doing a long term study on the causes of death of birds of prey. Have already sent them 2 dead Barn Owls. If you find any dead bird of prey, stick it in the fridge, and then send it to them. I'll post a link for details of where to send it when I get to my lap top.
Cheers.
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 18:07   #8898
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Just a quick note to say that I fully support all the work done by everyone on the work parties and if you disagree with that then reading this thread in full should convince you otherwise!

To show how much the reserve means to me I shall be coming down from York next weekend to help out with the work party (nothing to do with a yank warbler in wales...)

Look forward to seeing everyone one then!
Will be great to see you again Tim - says a lot about the reserve and its work parties when people are prepared to travel 150 miles to attend!

You will enjoy the Yellowthroat - fantastic little bird. Good supporting cast with Lesser Scaup, Glossy Ibis and Boney's nearby.
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 18:09   #8899
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Thanks for your infos regarding the Hen Pool hide, Sy and Forgetful Elephant!
My first day with various nice inductions today (and brilliant weather), thanks for everyone being so helpful!
Will come tomorrow again, don't know yet where to spend most of the time: Concrete hide for not seeing the Kingfisher, Hen's Pool hide for not seeing anything, or the new hide (which I like) for not seeing anything coming close enough to take a picture of.
But it is a lovely reserve, loads of potential, and despite the noise from the A38 just a fantastic place to be at - especially when the sun is shining.
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Old Saturday 25th February 2012, 18:27   #8900
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Part of the reason for not seeing anything could be watching german football on your computer. definitley a new approach to birding!
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