Assistant Ranger Blog Autumn 2019

My name is Katie and I am the new Assistant Ranger here at Abberton reservoir nature reserve. I love all wildlife, especially Bats! I am currently doing a MSc in Wildlife Conservation and am very passionate about protecting our environment. My job is very exciting and has had many great nature experiences so far!

Autumn has arrived here at Abberton Nature Reserve. This beautiful season is a busy time for nature. Full of arriving over-wintering birds, others leaving on migration and many animals preparing for the colder months. The leaves are a spectacular array of colours, falling from our beautiful trees, laying a crisp blanket beneath our feet. There are plenty of berries, fruits, seeds and nuts and many mesmerising creatures taking to the stage to take advantage of the riches this season has to offer.  
This month so far at Abberton Nature Reserve we have seen a glorious amount of wildlife. In wildwood and the hedgerows, we have many birds including Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch and Chiffchaff. Skylark can also be spotted fluttering over the reserve. Captivating flocks of starlings are taking to the air in their wonderous displays. Bird are starting to migrate and over wintering birds are starting to arrive on the reservoir. On the water we have many Cormorants, Heron, Great White Egret, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon and Pintail. The continuing warm weather into October has meant many species such as the Common Darter dragonfly, Southern Hawker dragonfly and Holly Blue butterfly have been spotted still on the reserve.  

We have many projects on this month. Our main one is our new outdoor classroom being built and accompanying paths. Behind this, we have built a bigger hibernaculum for all our reptiles and amphibians to move into for the winter to hibernate. Our work party volunteers and Rangers have been out doing reserve management tasks such as maintaining the ponds. At one of our ponds just off the reservoir, we found 5 discarded Harvest Mice nests! This was an exciting find as it means that they are breeding successfully in that area. 

Our monthly wetland bird survey (WeBs) took place on the 16th of October, which allows us to record which species we have on the reservoir and roughly how many. Leah Fitzpatrick from the Natural History Museum joined us on the 20th to give us a talk on ‘Celebrating Spiders’ and her amazing research into spider venom. We enjoyed a lovely walk around the reserve finding spiders and learning about them up close. 

It has been a great month for seeing wildlife on the reserve and we have an exciting winter ahead of us, planting 5,000 trees around the reservoir! See you next month – Katie 

Katie- Abberton Ranger
harvest mice nest

Photo taken by Katie Goldsbrough