Sunday, 22 February 2015

Willow Planting and Dam Building at RSPB Campfield Marsh

A productive day at RSPB Campfield Marsh. There was a good turnout of volunteers this week so we managed to get quite a few jobs done...
Roger and I set about laying some cobbles to construct a small 'weir' for the water to trickle over as it runs down into the main pond. After the initial layer of stones, Stephen who works for the RSPB was quite impressed with our work and went to get some more stone so that we could work on phase 2!

Phase one of weir building - Campfield Marsh
Phase 2 involved putting more stone around the edges and making the 'weir' a little more stable. It was pretty interesting work and made much more fun due to the fact the mud in the stream bed was quite slimy and slippy - huge potential for falling over but we both managed to stay upright with a few near misses!

Phase 2 - more cobbles
Phase 3 involved putting some turf around the cobbles to set them in place. The weir was a success, but we are not sure how it will withstand the effects of children if they decide to wander along it like stepping stones!

Roger and I were very pleased with our construction. However the 'weir' did seem to end up like a dam, effectively stopping nearly all of the water upstream. However, it is very dry at the moment and we are due some rain so hopefully in a few days time the water will be 'trickling' over the weir with a relaxing wave effect!

The finished weir waiting for more rain
Roger and Brian on the Troll Bridge - Campfield Marsh
Meanwhile the rest of the volunteers were busy planting willow around the seating area to provide a screen. As the willow takes hold it will grow and become a great form of shelter. The willow was placed in a semi circle with another round put in at 45 degree angles to produce a kriss-cross effect. Lets hope it takes hold soon and doesn't get battered by the winds forecast!

 The finished screen set in place and reading to grow. 

Meanwhile some other hardy volunteers were busy continuing with path reinforcement repairs. This basically involves digging up sods of mud and turf and banking them along the side of the walkway to prevent the sides from collapsing and the path subsiding. 

After a morning cuppa, most of us had finished our allocated jobs and so we gathered some more willow and together we headed to the pond. We reinforced the screen that was already there by interspersing it with more willow. The plan is for this willow is to strengthen the bank and help to prevent erosion. The prevailing wind often blows down the lake and the willow should help protect the bank from the lapping waves.

On the way back we stopped to admire the new construction that has been put in place at Campfield Marsh by contractors - a task too big for the volunteer crew! The new construction, the badger sett and is designed for children to have a bit of interactive fun and see what it is like to live underground. However the volunteer crew seemed to think it was more like a hobbit hole!

The enormous badger sett - Campfield Marsh

Or is it a hobbit hole? Campfield Marsh
On our walk back to base it was nice to see some wildlife. There was a lot of chaffinches around and then a greater spotted woodpecker flew in to mark his territory. So it's not all hard work and no play...we do get to see some wildlife as well!

Greater spotted woodpecker - Campfield Marsh

And then out on the Solway there was a particularly high tide today and we saw oyster catchers and curlews. 

Oyster catchers on the Solway Coast

Another fun and productive day out on the Solway. An amazing place that is not that well known but with a vast diversity of habitat and wildlife. I'm next off to Finglandrigg Wood - a National Nature Reserve that I didn't even know existed. It's amazing what green and wild spaces we do actually have out there.

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