ArticlesPosted by duncan 01 Feb, 2016 08:45:08
This year the Duke of Edinburgh students are having their sessions on the Saturday afternoons, separate from the normal weekend work parties. This means that some of the usual volunteers help out at these sessions as well.
The first session was a bit "wet" but everyone got stuck in and enjoyed it.
The second was drier and sunny, and the task was to help clear the stream from the car park pond, that would eventually flow to Abberton reservoir. As the session is only for 3 hours that would have been a bit ambitious! But after splitting into teams, each section was cleared of the banks of bramble, reeds and overhanging branches, along with removing any debris from the stream.
No-one fell in!
ArticlesPosted by duncan 24 Nov, 2014 10:09:40
On the Work Parties ( Weekends or Tuesdays) we are a tough sort and the rain that we had on Saturday ( 22 November) wasn't going to stop us, or even stop us getting a fire for the burning of the waste.
This time we were over the road on Keyes Triangle, and we tackled the gorse and the blackthorn with the bow saws, clippers and the brush cutters. Also this was a session that the Duke of Edinburgh group helped at, and the evidence of the amount of mud on them, showed how well they had worked.
We have also had a lady and her two daughters helping out at the recent weekends and while the youngest wasnt looking forward to the wet, once she got involved she hardly noticed the rain.
Good job all round!
ArticlesPosted by duncan 05 Jul, 2014 16:38:24
Every year the Mayor of Colchester chooses 6 charities that benefit from the Mayoral events, and we are honoured that the Mayor, Cllr John Elliott has chosen us to be one of this charities. The full list of charities and events can be found on the Mayor's Charities page.
Also we will be helping out on some of these events.
NewsPosted by duncan 22 Jun, 2014 09:50:25
After a couple of years off, the Heath Fair returned and it was a great day, if a bit overcast.
The bouncy castle and fun slide was enjoyed by the younger children, as
was the Punch and Judy show ( and I think the adults enjoyed that too) -
thanks also to Marcel to MC-ing the event so well.
The Fair helps to fund the costs of the upkeep of the heath, through the
entry donations and some of the stalls - the coconut shy was a great
The other stalls come and make the day what it is, raising awareness of
their own causes, and make some funds for themselves, but add colour and
fun to a little corner of the Heath.
The ponies came and had a look to see what was happening too!
...everyone who helped with the setup and take down of the fair, and helped in the car park, on the gates
...to Liz and Di on the refreshments
...to the stall holder who we had to move twice for a couple of reasons (sorry!), but always had a smile
...and everyone who came!
To the Heath Fair committee, without their hard work and meetings
over the months it could not have happened - Joan, Claire, Di C, Di W,
Jane and Jean.
See you next time!
ArticlesPosted by duncan 15 May, 2014 22:31:05
The winter work parties
and Tuesday groups
aim to re-establish the heather and to keep areas open, free of dense vegetation and the encroaching scrub.
The volunteers range from a 14 year old up to (and beyond!) 70 year olds - newcomers are always welcome. The work parties are fun and even if it's raining we usually
manage to light a fire to keep warm and to burn the cut vegatation.
There have been specific projects, including the Stream Restoration Project
See the Working Parties
page for the latest Working Party dates.
ArticlesPosted by duncan 23 Apr, 2014 21:13:31
The Heath after dark by Joan Pinch
Things happen on the heath after dark, many of which over the centuries best forgotten. From the animal world we see evidence of night time activity of foxes, mice and voles, but there are one or two that we haven’t noticed for some time. One is the badger, and a survey by the North East Essex Badger Group carried out recently found no signs of them spending time to feed here, and all holes of their old sett had either closed up or fallen out of use. There was therefore no point in holding our planned Badger Walk on April 12th expert could explain the Group’s plan to vaccinate badgers in this area to prevent any sort of cull being necessary in the future.
The Barn Owl has not been seen around the heath since the middle of last year, and there is something we can do to encourage it to return. One of our volunteers, Rod Pennick, is a very skilled craftsman and he was asked if he could make a barn owl box to give shelter and for breeding. Rod in fact made two boxes from a design recommended by Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Rod and his brother Mike spent a Tuesday afternoon work party putting up the boxes on the edges of the two large open areas. Their locations were chosen by Malcolm Easton who is a trained surveyor for Essex Wildlife Trust. He will check the boxes from time to time and keep records of their use.
From the human point of view, it’s good to report the Tiptree Scouts on a recent Orienteering event after dark. Their leader Mark Carter commented that they had a great evening, found all the markers that they could, and even managed to do some stargazing as well. They are pictured at the start, working out their route.
There was a bit of a crisis this week, with a pair of bluetits trying to build a nest in the box on the path from the car park, which is a very busy route. The box was actually a robin nest box, used originally for accessing free poo bags when we could get them, and the large hole had been covered with a notice. The bluetits had managed to get behind the notice and had laid down the basis of a nest. Reluctantly I removed the notice to discourage them from completing the nest, since it’s better for them to start again now somewhere else, than desert the nest due to too much disturbance when there are eggs in it. If they do continue with the box, then they’ll be brave enough to stand a good chance of succeeding. Watch this space.
Talking of bluetits, my nest box camera is showing that the mother has finished building her nest and she spent last night sleeping in it, but I haven’t seen any eggs yet. I think she may be covering them with feathers after she’s laid them, one at a time.
NewsPosted by duncan 23 Apr, 2014 21:07:59
Even if the winter and spring merged, we have had some migrants on the heath - chiffchaffs, willow warbler, blackcap, garden warbler and
cuckoos have been spotted and heard, which is great to hear these anywhere, but even better on the heath.
The nightingale may well have arrived – Malcolm Brown thinks he
heard a short burst of its song yesterday – but the whitethroats and linnets are
singing beautifully and can be heard and seen all over the heath. With the
recent warm weather grass snakes and common lizards have been seen all over the
place. We may also have some red-legged partridges nesting.