Scrub Bashing and Bird Ringing

The day was spent managing the habitat at Cranwich. Our lovely reed bed and gravel pits were slowly being over taken by trees such as willow and alder. While stands of such trees do provide habitat for a range of wildlife, it is not so good for the species were are trying to promote here, namely our reed warblers but also a number of other specific species. The spindly alders and willows simply have to go. And so throughout a rather murky day we chopped and cut and removed. Piling up the branches to be burned, clearing the grassy areas up to the edges of the pools.

Making a start!

While we cleared the winter wildlife of the reserve proceeded with its daily routine. Flocks of duck and geese collected on the larger pools. Little grebes ducked and dived, creating ripples on the calm, dark surface of the water. Fieldfare and redwing streamed over head, and small passerines like bullfinch and robin called from the surrounding woods. Amongst the vegetation we removed there were the signs of summer use, an abandoned nest of a small mammal (a tiny knot of grass at the base of the brush) and even an old Reed Bunting nest (much to the disgruntlement of the Chief Nest Recorder, Dave who had spent many an hour watching that pair disappear into that thicket over the summer but never successfully located the nest!). We even saw a water shrew legging it for some new cover. And while we may be removing seemingly good habitat each of these creatures will find new places to sleep and nest with plenty of excellent habitat remaining.

Lee and the old Reed Bunting nest

But what would a trip to Cranwich be without an attempt at ringing. As dusk approached, into the reed bed where already the water levels are rising, a net was set. The aim, to catch Starlings coming into roost. The result? Two Starlings and two Redwings, and one very wet pair of legs (teach me to turn up to a reed bed with no waders).

Clad in a fresh pair of warm socks and a fortunate pair of coveralls, and now in pitch darkness, there was only one thing left to do…. Put a net up and try to catch the Tawny Owls of course! The result? One beautiful, adult male Tawny Owl, caught ringed and released, oh and one very sore hand from getting the bird out of the net (teach Lee to let an owl grab his hand).

The Owl

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