Saturday, 31 January 2015

RSPB volunteer work party in the snow - Campfield Marsh

Snow on the beach - only this time lots of it and it was like being in a blizzard!! I volunteer for my local RSPB group at Campfield Marsh reserve at Bowness on Solway when my work rota allows. I happened to be off on the morning of the 29th January, when snow was forecast and I thought it would be fine as the reserve is on the coast! However, the Solway is quite a large inlet and is just across the water from southern Scotland. And the forecast was snowed..quite a lot!
Trying to get the gorse burning in a blizzard - Campfield Marsh!
Stephen the Snowman!!
Dave Blackledge is the reserves manager and he decided we should go and try to burn some of the gorse that we had been coppicing. At first it kind of looked like it was going to be a long morning getting the fire going. However we did get some flames and the fire survived the blizzard better than we did! We persevered and chopped up some more gorse and kept the fire going. However as if by magic the snow machine turned off and we were blessed with blue skies.

Cuppa time - enjoying the sunshine and the warmth of the fire - Campfield Marsh
The views across the Solway were stunning and we saw some pink footed geese fly overhead. I was lucky enough to also see on my drive home a kestrel and a Little Egret flying across in front of my car and over a field.
Snow on the beach - Bowness on Solway
Snow on the beach - Bowness on Solway
Most of the regular volunteers didn't turn up today and had turned back when it started snowing. I don't blame them as there was quite a bit of snow on the minor roads. However they are normally out in force and there is a good group of regulars. Below however are some pictures of a day when we did some previous gorse coppicing. There is a large stretch of gorse on the salt marsh and the idea is to cut some back to allow other species such as flowers to grow and in turn benefits invertebrates and breeding birds.

Gorse coppicing in milder weather - Bowness on Solway
The gorse has a tendency to go wild!

The big expanse of gorse to be tackled by the volunteers
As you can see from the pics there is a lot of gorse and some of it has got a bit unwieldy!! But that is the beauty of volunteer work parties. Many hands get a lot of work done in a day!
The area that was cleared after just a few days of work was pretty impressive.
The land below had a big patch of gorse on it which has now been cleared to allow new growth.
The end result after a few days hard work

And then there is always the fun bit - having a bonfire! This one was slightly more successful than the snowy one. 

Volunteer work parties are a great day out. At RSPB Campfield Marsh I am often the youngest volunteer, but not always. Most people in the group are retired and so have the time to spare, but what is brilliant is their commitment, not many of them miss a week and they work hard. I often have to leave early to go to work but it doesn't matter because every little bit of work helps. I really enjoy the variety of work we do on the reserve such as reed wiping, snipe surveys, hide maintenance, hedge laying, natterjack toad pond maintenance and even sculpture building!! You meet great people who have a lot of knowledge to share. I always learn something new on a volunteer day and always have fun. So if you have a few hours to spare there are many different conservation groups you can join in with. Here are just a few:

Cumbria Wildlife Trust 
Marine Conservation Society 
Lake District National Park 

No comments:

Post a Comment