Forthcoming Events 2019

Balsam Pulls (Meet at South Moorlands Leisure Centre main car park off Ashbourne Road)

Sunday 11th August 10am-3pm

Thursday 15th August 6pm-8pm

Next Meeting

Thursday 12th September at 7pm at the sports pavilion,Thorley Drive, Cheadle.

Events for the winter months will be arranged at this meeting.

Everyone is welcome to come to the meeting and put forward their ideas.

Water voles

It is the breeding season for water voles and we are desperately trying to save our diminishing population.

We like dogs, but the wildlife in the brook is not so keen, so we are asking dog walkers to keep their dogs under close control and not to let them into the brook. It is important not to disturb the water voles at this time of year. We thank you for your co-operation in this matter.

Birds on the reserve

Over 30 different species of bird have been spotted over the winter on or near the Cecilly Brook reserve.

Look out for the following: Kingfisher, Goldfinch, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Willow Tit, Greenfinch, Wren, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Redpoll, Siskin, Sparrowhawk, Blackcap, Buzzard

Members are hoping to take part in the National Willow Tit Survey 2019-2020 which runs from February to the middle of April.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is P5253153-2-e1552496996219-225x300.jpg

Although it is the second fastest declining species in the UK after the Turtle Dove and is a red listed species we are fortunate to have Willow Tits on the reserves.

January 2019 Work Party Review

On Monday 14th January 2019 the bird boxes along the brook were cleaned out and the new willow tit boxes that were made by members were put up.

90% of the existing boxes showed signs of being occupied the previous year.

The location of all of the boxes has now been mapped using GPS to improve monitoring of activity. Members of the group will check on activity at the boxes over next year’s breeding season.

Scrub clearance 2018

Through the efforts of a few enthusiastic volunteers on Thursday 11th October and Monday 22nd October a section of scrub was cleared from along the brook letting in light, with the aim of improving the habitat for the water voles and kingfishers.

Some of the areas of scrub are being retained to maintain a diversity of habitat, with species such as the willow tit and other nesting birds benefiting. Unfortunately the planned work on Friday 7th December had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

Hales Hall Tidy Up 1st November 2018

Brambles are a valuable habitat for many species, but some of the brambles were encroaching on the paths around the pool and therefore needed to be cut back to ensure access is maintained across the site.
Grass was growing across the paths making them narrower. The grass was cleared from the sides of the paths to return them to their original width.
Many thanks to the volunteers who worked on the day.

Buffer Strip Management

Alongside the brook there is a buffer strip which links the brook with the adjacent amenity grassland. Each year one third of this area is strimmed and the material removed to keep the fertility of the soil low to encourage a range of wild flowers and grasses. This work is done on a 3 year rotation, with a different area cleared each year. This helps prevent the strip degenerating into scrub and provides a more diverse habitat to help support the local water vole population and other wildlife.

The above areas were amongst those cleared as part of the rotation in October 2018.

Birds on the reserve

Look out for willow tits which have been heard recently along the brook. Also look out for Redwings, Fieldfares, Siskins, Long Tailed Tits, Nuthatches and Kingfishers, as well as the normal garden birds you would expect to see in the winter.

Buzzards have nested near to the reserve and can often be seen soaring overhead.

It will soon be time to look out for this year’s Starling murmurations and winter migrants, especially at Hales Hall Pool.

Cheadle Angling Club spotted juvenile Oystercatchers flying around Hales Hall Pool (April 2018)

Water vole survey 2018

A number of people have recently said that they have not seen any water voles in the brook.

However there is evidence of water vole burrows and latrines in the section between Ashbourne Road and Oakamoor Road. A recent survey in the summer of 2018 has located 11 latrines in this section with a further 5 in the area behind Ullswater Drive.  A number of  water voles have been seen by members, particularly in the middle section of the reserve. Unfortunately there has been no evidence of water vole activity south of Ashbourne Road.

As part of the planning application for the old JCB site a survey also recorded the presence of water voles in this area.