started my volunteering/placement at Tophill on Saturday. For mileage purposes i have found that the reserve is a startling 14.4 miles away despite being 7 as the crow flies. Oh well its more petrol money to claim from uni.
Rolled up at 10am and had a coffee with Richard who was outlining the direction the reserve is going in (upward!). I gradually came too, as my caffeine fix permeated my veins. The grand plan for the day was to dig out a diesel sump which had become choked with vegetation and stagnant. We were cleaning it out so that dragonfly nymphs could thrive in future in the sump. Tophill has a decommisioned sit on lawn mower as a tractor impersonator and i was allowed several goes on this across the day. It beats walking. We cleaned the sump out surprisingly quickly with only the phragmites proving tricky to remove. It stunk and my left wader leaked a little but i wasnt disheartened. The only pain in the bum was as i got to lunch i noticed my left arm had been leeched! Barely clotted blood dripped down but it was all good.
Further coffee for lunch with a Kitkat and i was raring to go but not before seeing a Sprawk buzz the feeders. A few coal tits buzzed about but nothing much else was doing. In the afternoon we were clearing the willow scrub that had surrounded the sumps. Many small to medium sized woody trees were cleared and the whole area became much more open. Shame about the massive bramble tangle that we came to. We also managed to remove most of the willow that had started to invade the reedbed (we were on South Marsh for those that know!). Birdwise we had a good passsage of Curlew and numbers of Redwing roosting in the pines that previously held Amur Falcon. Not a lot else was seen bar the odd coot or moorhen but all said a thoroughly enjoyable (and tiring) day.