Old Friends Return

28 March 2015:

Black RedstartThe Landguard Nature Reserve can be a bleak place in the depths of Winter, not that it doesn’t hold its own charm at that time but many of the species of bird that are resident throughout the other seasons of the year are not there. In the Bungalow during the Winter we are kept company by a colony of House Sparrows which roost around the building, helped out by various bird boxes which they make use of. On the beach, on and off there is the odd handful of Snow Buntings, having a break from the Arctic regions that they inhabit most of the time. Landguard being their Costa del Sol. So it’s pure joy to hear the calls of Meadow Pipits and Linnets in March as they return to the site. And then there are our old friends the Ringed Plovers of which two pairs appear to have taken up residence on the shingle already. Waiting all Winter for one Black Redstart and have five turn up on the same day as happened this month (March) helps define the Landguard Peninsula as a very special place.

In February the Nature Reserve hosted its first event during this school half term to celebrate National Bird Box Week, which is a nationwide British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) initiative. The event ('Feed the Birds and Give a Bird a Home') was held just Feed the Birds and Give a Bird a Homeoutside the Bungalow had a contingency plan of being held in the garage if need be. This being possible after a ruthless clear up as before there wasn’t room to swing the proverbial cat!

On the day the sun shone and the usual Landguard gale abated as if by some divine intervention. Twenty five recommended specification boxes were made with the help of me and volunteer Richard Llewellyn. Other volunteers that helped out with bottle feeders and Pinecone fat feeders were Wendy Marshall and Joe Topple. Special thank you from me to all of the volunteers for making the event go so well. The following week I received a Tweet with a picture from a satisfied customer showing a bird already investigating the entrance to his box.

New interpretationRecently at the main entrances to the Nature Reserve new interpretation has been displayed. This will help dispel any confusion of where dog walkers on the Nature Reserve are permitted to have their dogs off the lead. The interpretation will especially help new visitors to the Reserve as the zones have been in place for many years. At the Manor Terrace car park entrance the interpretation can be found on a new notice board along with other Nature Reserve information.

Exciting news, a grant has been secured to cover the cost of repairing the old sea-hide doors from the Touching the Tide project based at the Coast and Heaths Area of Isle of WightOutstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). As the incredibly heavy WWII doors can’t be opened at the moment this will be an important step in making it possible to have the building professionally assessed for further renovation. It will be a real asset to the Reserve and provide another valuable tool in the educational and raising of awareness box. Thank you TtT this really is a project not so very far from touching the tide!

My family and I recently had a four night break on the Isle of Wight catching up with relatives. We had lovely sunny weather. Here is a photo of my family on another windswept coast!

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