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Sunday Work Party

The Sunday Work Party Programme for 2017/18.
Welcome to the 2017/8 programme of the Sunday Work Party. 
These Working Parties are organised by the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve and supported by Huntingdonshire District Council Countryside Services and Aggregate Industries Ltd.
We start off this season with a number of visits to the routes used by our Breeding Bird and Wetland Bird surveys. These have been rather
neglected over recent years and have overgrown to a state where it has become difficult to complete the surveys. This work will be in conjunction with some of our routine habitat management work in the same areas.
Many of our old favourites are also in the programme including the Sailing Lake Islands (big turnout please) and Hayling Lake reedbed.
Please feel free to join us in these varied wildlife management activities.
  • No previous experience is needed.
  • We’ll show you how to do the work.
  • Range of tasks to suit all abilities, energies and ages.
  • Meet new friends who also enjoy wildlife and the open air.
  • Find out how management benefits wildlife.
  • Tools, safety equipment and refreshments are provided.
With one exception (14th January 2018) all work parties start at 9.30 a.m. at the Visitor Centre and go through to somewhere around 1.00 p.m.

Bad weather alert system. We operate an email alert system where a note will be sent on Friday or Saturday if there is a probability of
cancellation.

If you have any questions concerning this Programme, please contact Mike Thomas (01480 387749), Iain Gunn (01480 472041) or Trevor Coughlan
(trevcoughlan@hotmail.co.uk).

Health & Safety
Many of us are aware of the increasing emphasis on health and safety issues in this modern world. This applies as much to the volunteer work that we do as to anything else.
Some of the precautions we need to take are obviously dependent on what we are doing and on the site itself. However there are a number of precautions that are universal and are listed below.
  • Make sure your anti-tetanus is up to date.
  • Wear suitable clothes and footwear.
  • Only attempt what you are personally capable of. Stop when tired.
  • Be aware of what’s happening around you; allow plenty of room.
  • If you don’t know how to use a specific handtool ask the leader.
  • Check for uneven ground, steep slopes, wet ground, dense ground vegetation, accumulated debris, trenches and holes.
  • Always lift and carry safely. Use arms and legs and not the back.
  • Remember - do not work alone.
Sunday 1st October- Island Pit
There are a number of survey viewpoints along the east and north sides of Island Pit that need clearing for the Wetland Bird Survey.

Sunday 15th October- West Scrub
We have two Breeding Bird Survey routes that run either side of the parish boundary that need opening up.

Sunday 5th November- Sanctuary
We need to manage some of the willow and hawthorn growth to open up the bird ringing net runs for next year’s surveys.

Sunday 19th November- Hayling Lake
Back to one of the old favourites. It is important we keep this reedbed open as we are a bit short on this type of habitat.

Sunday 3rd December- East Scrub
We have five trial exclosures in here with the aim of creating nightingale friendly habitats. Today we will be managing the growth in the
exclosures and clearing part of route 5 on the Breeding Bird Survey.

Sunday 14th January- Sailing Lake Islands
Another old favourite. We cut back the vegetation on these islands to create the right habitat for wading birds such as oyster catcher and redshank. We only get one hit at this one so please try and make it.
(For this work party meet in the Sailing Club car park. Wellies useful for getting in and out of the boat. We thank Paxton Lakes Sailing Club for their support for this work.)

Sunday 28th January- Cloudy Lake
The west side of Cloudy Lake is important for invertebrates and Natural England have asked that we cut back some of the more mature scrub along the bank.

Sunday 11th February- Adders-tongue fern
Our annual cutting of growth in the exclosure to encourage this rare fern and further work to regenerate the surrounding hawthorn scrub.

Sunday 25th February- Hedge planting
Continuation of a large scale hedge planting programme on the Reserve.

Sunday 18th March- Gully & Field Scabious
On-going management of the Gully hedge and clearing the bank on the Lower Meadow to encourage the locally rare Field Scabious.

Sunday 22nd April- Orchid exclosure
We built this exclosure last year to protect the bee orchids and it was a phenomenal success! So, we will enlarge the fenced area and see what happens.

Sunday 10th June- Himalayan Balsam
Himalayan Balsam is an invasive species weed that outcompetes native plants. We have a regular influx from plants brought down the river that set into the river banks.

Sunday 1st July- Ragwort
It is important for us to remove ragwort from the meadows we want to cut for hay as it’s high alkaloid content is harmful to cattle.