Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Another exciting event at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve was our Handover celebration and Community Day on Sunday 3rd October. Despite some bad weather during the setting up the clouds blew away as the event opened with TV Naturalist Mike Dilger and BBC Weather woman Jemma Cooper. Mike enthused about the reserves important connectivity for a number of other Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT) sites throughout the Gordano Valley and on the edge of the internationally important Severn Estuary. With the Bristol Channel & Severn having the second highest rise and fall of tide in the world, the mudflats are exposed for longer periods so provide essential feeding ground for many winter migrant visiting wading birds. When the Chief Executive of Persimmon Homes Severn Vale, Carl Haley shook hands with CEO of Avon Wildlife Trust, Steve Grainger, this unique deal was finalised. Planning consent was granted by North Somerset planners on condition of the creation of a nature reserve through a planning mechanism called Section 106. Each property is sold with an annual levy attached, so the household contributes to the management and upkeep of the reserve. Portishead Town Band kept well over 200 visitors entertained, and piped up with "Congratulations" as the deal was sealed!

To mark the occasion a rare black poplar tree was planted - a species under threat of extinction. The reserve also boasts other rare plants and animals, including water voles, barn owls and great crested newts.
The visitors enjoyed a wide range of children's activities, bushcraft, story-telling and guided nature walks and learnt of the soon to be built bird hides.
There was general concensus for another Community Day to be hosted by AWT next year - perhaps falling on a day during July or August 2011, giving a greater chance of some better weather. Watch this space!

Bird Hides Coming Soon

Exciting times on the reserve at the moment! Two bridges have been constructed across the rhynes on Warf Lane to provide access to bird hides. The hides will be completed over the coming weeks after the timber has been treated at the factory. The hides will be fenced off and screened so that you can enjoy bird watching with minimal disturbance to the wildlife.

A tower hide will also be coming soon that will provide views of both the foreshore and the reserve.

The fencing contractors will be on-site over the next few weeks ensuring that the entire reserve is stock proof and finishing access routes. The in-land sea bund is being fenced so that we have the option of getting it grazed in the future.