Friday, 13 July 2012

To All

Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group   NEWS LETTER  No. 1

I would like to thank everybody for their efforts, since we started the group in September 2011, we have come quite a way in such a short time. In excess of 40 bird boxes have been made and erected around the site, and our thanks go to Bruce and Eric who made and donated them. Work has also been carried out on the sphagnum bog area, as well as the reed bed lagoon.

In January we received some good advice from our friends in the RSPB.
They advised us to clear both of these areas of trees, in a strategy to manage the water levels. These areas have a tendency to drain the water in the summer through evaporation. In that vain we will be cutting the reed in October, as the start of a 7 year cycle to help bring this area to its full potential and also finish cutting the trees on the perimeter and in the centre of the reeds. This hopefully in due time will return the species what was once common to the area.

With the re-capping of the North Loop, a new amphibian pond has been dug, this was located outside the area of capping, We also did a newt count on the wheel wash area one very wet Saturday night myself Bruce and Steve counted 221 including smooth newts which now leaves a dilemma as to what we do with that area as it was due to be removed, (watch this space).
 The first moth survey has begun also in the n/loop, this was lead by Andy C. The second had to be cancelled due to exceedingly bad weather but hopefully this will be replaced with another and I hope to join you later in the year on that. Thanks go to Hugh, Robin and Bob Wilkinson for allowing us access to that area.

 One thing that has had the most impact on the site, is of course the bird feeder area. We have Allan to thank for getting it all started, and this area will in fact be dedicated to a lost friend of Calderdale wildlife and its conservation, Mr Colin Duke. A memorial stone has been erected in the feeder area in his honour and will be dedicated later in the year. There will also be a bench seat going in on the lower prepared area, which has been donated by a friend of the Cromwell Group.

Thanks go to Marshalls PLC and in particular Niel Davidson and Dave Smith for supplying and delivery of the stone and also to the kind donations from yourselves and other groups. 

 There is more work to do on Colins bird diner, with a fence and screen to be put up but this will be dependant on the weather / finances but will go ahead this year.

The March working party did a fine job of planting in excess of 170 trees, comprising 7 different species. This is part of 900 trees, that needed to be planted on the reserve as a consequence of removing scrub on North Loop, all the other trees were planted by May with the much appreciated help of the Calderdale Volunteer Group.
New direction signs have gone up in various places and the road signs are now on order. There will be one on either side of the road 300yds before Cromwell House and one on the road side by the entrance.

On the Down side, dogs and their control have become a problem, as have cyclists. We have now put up some signs for cyclists in the hope of controlling them. I believe the council has placed a dog control order on Cromwell but will be very difficult to police.
The Web site is doing very well, with over 20000 hits in only 10 months.  This is mainly due to the feeder area and also Queenie who must have been the most photographed Kingfisher in England and also the Redpolls which were very popular. Viewings have come from all over the world, and interest is high as is the interest from local birdwatchers.

I have to give a big vote of thanks to the dedicated volunteers of the Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group who have given their time and effort to get things done on the reserve.

The other 3 Groups involved also deserve their share of praise, Calderdale Bird Watchers, The Halifax Scientific Society and the Calderdale Volunteer group without whose help we wouldn't be as far on as we are. They have kindly donated both money, time or both to the Cromwell Group. I hope our collaboration will continue for years to come, and I send my thanks to all on behalf of the group.  

Membership has been disappointing, we set a low price of £5  in the hope of boosting numbers. However this has not had the desired effect and we will have to rethink our strategy, if in reading this you feel a desire to join please get in touch on   
Two membership fees will feed the birds this winter for a week and any donations will be gratefully accepted.

The wish list is long! we will have our hands full in fulfilling them all, but it is possible, these things can be done. Last but by no means least, thanks to all of you, without whose effort none of this would have happened. Thank you all very much.

 Yours G W Haigh  

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