Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sunken hides

Meeting up with Tormod and Elin of Biotope last year has inspired a lot of discussion on the form and function of observation hides and viewing platforms.  We are looking at bringing some of their ideas to the UK and one of the tough parts of my job is that I now have to go up to Varanger, Norway next week for Gullfest 2014 in order to get a close view of some of their designs.

Recently, I was up at the RSPB Dearne Valley reserve at Old Moor running a soils and hydrology course.  It is always a pleasure to visit this well run and ‘thinking’ reserve. Two booming Bitterns in the small area of reedbed is their reward for good habitat management. The scrape management is excellent and underlined by the 30 species of wader recorded last year (the 4th best RSPB site). However, my attention this visit was drawn to their new ‘sunken hide’ – a hide with the viewing slots at ground level so you are eye-to-eye with the buntings, finches and Tree Sparrows coming in to a feeding station.  Last year, on my last visit, we had discussed how we could provide new types of viewing and photographic opportunities and no surprise, the team has delivered. More details here.

Also getting in on the act is Rye Meads. A new Kingfisher bank and bat hibernaculum is taking shape on the edge of the scrape, accompanied by a low level, close viewing and photographic hide.  But the best is yet to come….

Pics above - Old Moor reed bed (RSPB Dearne Valley), their 'sunken hide', Rye Meads Kingfisher bank taking shape.

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