On Wednesday 11th March a Team of willing helpers spent their Lend-A-Hand day at The RSPB Headquarters in Sandy. The Team consisted of Steve Gatfield, Steve Amos, Mark Smith, John Gillson and Sally Tokens.
The work helped the re-creation of the heathland at The Lodge and involved removing Birch and Pine. Birch is one of the main problems for the heathland habitats as they try to establish more open heather and grass for birds like the Woodlark and Nightjar.
The Woodlark is a rare breeding bird in Britain that is found on dry sandy soils and lowland heathland. In 1986 there were as few as 250 pairs. Since the late 80’s and due to the forest clearings, the amount of birds has increased dramatically. They like short, grassy or heathy turf as they forage for all of their food on the ground. Nests are located under heather bushes and by clearing all the Birch this is making an ideal habitat for the Heather to develop and encourage nesting.
The project at The Lodge is to re-create 100 hectares (one square kilometre) of lowland heathland. Peter Bradley who is the Senior Sites Manager at The Lodge, informed us that they had heard a Woodlark for the very first time at The Headquarters the previous day to our visit. Peter was very pleased with the work that was achieved during the visit and said he would welcome us back again. It was a brilliant day and enjoyed by everyone who took part.