So, ok, this home would be a little difficult to sit down in but what’s not to love in a thatched dunny?
Delighted to announce that my nature girl blog has been voted runner up in
BBC Wildlife Magazines Local Patch Blogger Awards for 2017. See more here
Winter marks the beginning of the tree management programme for the River Stour Internal Drainage Board.
The majority of the trees are trimmed back or removed to allow access to machines which de-silt the river. De-silting generally takes place every 10 years and is done so that drainage ditches maintain their capacity to hold a certain volume of water and cope with winter rainfall.
Nowadays ditches are partially de-silted with the central channel cleared and banks left untouched. This is a much gentler approach than in the past where banks were scraped destroying water vole burrows and removing native flora.
Trees may also be removed if they are deemed to be a safety hazard. One particular tree that caused an issue this year was a black poplar which had a dead limb directly above a sluice structure. The IDB felt this could present a hazard to staff checking the structure and wished to remove the limb but inspections revealed several features which could potentially contain bat roosts.
Josh, our resident aboriculturalist, did not feel the tree was safe to climb so investigating with an endoscope was not possible and therefore we could not give the go ahead for the IDB to undertake the limb removal.
Further investigations are now being undertaken by the IDB to rule the tree out as a bat roost before they proceed with the removal of the limb.
Towards the end of the year our work took us to Langenhoe on the Essex Coast to undertake a WeBs count on behalf of Brooks Ecological Limited. WeBs stands for Wetland Bird Survey and the counts. which take place either side of high tide monitor non breeding water birds and are used to identify trends and distribution of waterfowl and waders. We are hoping to take more trips out to the RAMSAR protected Essex coastline in the coming months.
Lastly, this month, Carol Donaldson has been busy writing about wildlife for various publications including The Clearing and The Guardian. Read her article on the North Kent Marshes here.
Feeling a little scared of the Hooden Horse at a Wassailing event in Fort Amherst, Chatham.
Read an extract of On the Marshes at Longshore Drift in which I entertain fantasies of being in Wuthering Heights and bless bird hides while walking the coast of Sheppey on a rainy day.
Am I the only person loving this recent bout of wet weather? ‘Bring on the rain,’ I say. Rivers in the south east of England desperately need it and flooded fields are great for waders such as lapwing.
Been tracking peregrines in Essex with JA Baker helped by the references in My House Of Sky, an autobiography of his life written by Hetty Saunders and published by Little Toller. My idea of a perfect day, a bike, a good book, a thermos and some beautiful countryside to cycle through.