Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Target: higher water levels

Spring seemed just around the corner today, with glorious sunshine at last and reports of booming Bitterns coming in from the south-west.  So, with a trip down to Rainham Marshes, thoughts turned to maintaining ideal water levels through the coming breeding season.

A lot of work is happening at Rainham this winter, not least a review of the hydrology. Maintaining adequate water into the summer is a key issue; essential for providing good feeding conditions for breeding and passage birds.  Good work by the site staff over the winter has blocked some of the seepage points identified last autumn. The Target Pools look particularly good at the moment, with higher than usual water levels – but the test will come in the spring as water levels naturally drop. The overall aim should be to achieve a strategic approach to water level management, a succession of good feeding areas around the reserve through the year. Various trials involving moving water around the site should indicate if this is possible.

Yesterday's Penduline Tits failed to re-appear, but with good water levels the reserve was holding large numbers of birds, notably Lapwings, Wigeon and Teal, and of course gulls.  Meanwhile, back on the garden feeders, Mealies continue to feature; up to six amongst the 20+ redpolls.

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