A suc­cess­ful first year...

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

I CAN’T quite be­lieve it’s al­ready been eight months since I started my new job here at Col­lege Lake na­ture re­serve, near Tring.

It was back in Fe­bru­ary that I be­gan work­ing as war­den for this amaz­ing site and the time since has passed in a blur.

It’s been ex­cit­ing, chal­leng­ing, sur­pris­ing and re­ward­ing, and I’d like to share some of the high­lights of my first sum­mer at the re­serve.

I started at a great time of year, just in time to see the re­turn of spring and with it the re­turn of some of our breed­ing birds such as red­shank, lit­tle ringed plover and oys­ter­catcher.

Later on, it was won­der­ful to see spring un­fold­ing into sum­mer and watch as the re­serve came alive with a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of colour­ful wild flow­ers and buzzing in­sects. I re­ally en­joy learn­ing to iden­tify new species, and be­ing here has given me the op­por­tu­nity to do just that. A per­sonal highlight was see­ing my first ever green-flow­ered helle­borine, just one of sev­eral species of or­chid found here at Col­lege Lake.

The whole of my first year here is about get­ting to know the site; see­ing how it changes with the sea­sons, watch­ing dif­fer­ent species come and go, and learn­ing when work needs to be done in dif­fer­ent parts of the re­serve to keep all our wildlife habi­tats in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion.

I’ve got to know many ded­i­cated peo­ple, who make up the var­i­ous vol­un­teer teams at Col­lege Lake. They do fan­tas­tic work and con­trib­ute a huge amount to the con­ser­va­tion.

The vol­un­teer work par­ties that I run ev­ery week have helped me to carry out all sorts of jobs around the site, from con­struct­ing fences and clear­ing scrub to con­trol­ling some of our ‘prob­lem’ species such as rag­wort and net­tle, which can eas­ily dom­i­nate an area and stop other species from grow­ing.

Some no­table achieve­ments in­clude re­paint­ing six of the bird hides and resur­fac­ing a muddy and ne­glected stretch of foot­path lead­ing to the June Ives Hide on the west­ern side of the wa­ter.

Now, with au­tumn here, I am get­ting ready for work the new sea­son is bring­ing. One of the ma­jor jobs I am look­ing for­ward to is get­ting out onto the marsh is­lands to cut back the veg­e­ta­tion. Once this is done it must be raked up and cleared from the is­lands.

By do­ing this each year we will stop the is­lands from be­com­ing too over­grown and will keep them in good con­di­tion to at­tract some of the breed­ing wading birds, such as lap­wing, that we want to en­cour­age.

Do­ing this work should re­ally al­low me to see the re­serve from a dif­fer­ent an­gle.

Col­lege Lake is a large and com­plex site and it has been a chal­lenge with so many new things to learn, but it is such a won­der­ful, beau­ti­ful place that it is a good chal­lenge, and I feel priv­i­leged to be able to work some­where so in­spir­ing.

Wing­ing it: The Wildlife Trust’s work en­cour­ages bird such as lap­wings to breed at Col­lege Lake


Good job: Leo Keedy en­joys work­ing some­where so in­spir­ing

Leo Keedy from the Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) re­flects on a sum­mer pro­tect­ing wildlife at Col­lege Lake

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