Friday, 28 February 2014

Marking the Way

Before Christmas we started a project to improve the way-markers that help visitors navigate the Wildlife Discovery Area at Anglesey Abbey.
A group of pupils from Highfield Special School in Ely helped us map out the paths and decide how many way-markers we needed, as well as think about how they may look.
We decided the way-markers would also double up as a rubbings trail with a range of images that reflected the plants, wildlife and activities that can be found in this part of Anglesey Abbey.
After a break for the winter the group is back to continue the next part of this project and this week they had a session with a metal artist; Tabi Frost.
The group prepared a selection of zinc plates ready for etching:

Step one – sanding the zinc plates smooth

Step two - applying tape to mask the areas we don’t want to etch

Step three – drawing on the designs

Everyone worked really hard and we managed to prepare 35 plates ready to be etched.

Tabi will now take the plates away and cover the drawings with a paint to protect them, the plates will then go into an acid bath and we will be left with a raised image.
These plates will be mounted onto posts to create our way markers and rubbing trail – next week will be a complete change as we will be digging holes for the posts.

Janet Jephcott
Community Engagement Officer
Anglesey Abbey

Monday, 24 February 2014

Lovely logs: eco-pile or den building material?

You’re in Hoe Fen with your children and you see all these logs and branches lying about just asking to be made into a den, but … how can you be sure that you’re not disturbing the resident wildlife? Fallen logs and branches get piled up to provide homes and nourishment for a myriad tiny plants, animals and fungi and it’s best to leave these ‘eco-piles’ undisturbed until they’ve completely rotted down.

To make it easier for everyone to be sure they’re not destroying the eco-piles by mistake, we decided to organise another ‘Family Muck-in’ and build a dedicated area where intrepid den builders can find enough logs and branches to build the perfect den. Mums, dads and children from 8 families made short work of clearing existing dens, digging in fence posts, making bunting, fixing fencing and filling the new den-building area with logs.

Dismantling an old den:

Posts and paling ready to go:

Digging a post hole:

Putting the fence posts in:

Bunting production line:

Investigating the local wildlife:

Nearly done:

Applying the finishing touches:

Ta da!
We also built two tipi-style dens nearby which we’ll eventually use for information leaflets and den-building guides. This session was one of our busiest Family Muck-ins so far, with 29 people turning up - the youngest was only 20 days old! Thanks to everyone for all your help.

Kate Boursnell 
Community Reporter
Anglesey Abbey
Please get in touch with Community Ranger Lois Baker on 01353 720274 or if you’d like to find out more about joining in with conservation projects at Wicken Fen or Anglesey Abbey.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Rooms to rent.....

The feathered residents of Gutter Bridge woodland can get ready to nest in luxury this spring as today the village working party put up 15 new nest boxes in the wood. They were a mixture of tit boxes and open fronted Robin boxes to provide homes for a range of species in the woodland. Hopefully there will be some residents this spring. 

Just two days late to be in the BTO's national nest box week!, hopefully the birds won't mind!

We followed some of the golden rules of nest box putting up:

  • Spacing out boxes far enough apart for birds territories do not to clash
  • Facing away from the prevailing wind and rain to keep them warm and dry 
  • Hiding open fronted boxes in lots of cover
  • Leaving clear flight paths to tit boxes

 They should be satisfactory to prospective tenants! We'll keep you updated as we monitor them this year.