Snowdrops, frog spawn and hazel catkins have all made an appearance on Brownsea despite the continuing inclement weather conditions. Wader numbers have risen to the usual winter numbers with dunlin peaking at over 3000 birds and avocet numbers regularly hitting 300.
The Countryside Stewardship project is in full swing across the island. On the reserve, work has begun to sift the root matter out of the scrapings of litter to ensure that it can be disposed of through burning. Most of the logs have been moved to Maryland where there is a temporary pontoon to ferry them back to the mainland. It's a bright yellow barge so keep an eye out from Poole Quay! The restoration of the reedbed pools and water network as well as the creation of new scrapes in front of the area of the new Lookout bird hide will take place in February. This work will mean water management between the reedbed and lagoon can be maintained as well as providing habitat for many aquatic organisms for many more years.
Our volunteer work parties have been thinning the woodland on St Andrews Hill to help with some broadleaved regeneration. The birch will be used to weave into fencing around the lake hide before the open season to build it back up to height. The maintenance team has been hard at work in the Villa garden, improving the paths and topping up the log supply. The reedbed has been cut to create a 'viewing window' into the lagoon to show visitors a snippet of what can be seen on the lagoon.
Our Young Conservationists returned to the Island in February to learn about woodland management and the safe use of hand-tools. They got stuck in to thinning birch on Cabbage Hill which they are then going to learn how to weave into screening by the lakes.
Brownsea will re-open to the public on Saturday 19 March with ferry services operating from Poole Quay only - we look forward to seeing you over the summer!