A report by Sara Messenger of TBNCG.
The Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group (TBNCG) was ten years old in September and celebrated by downing tools early and having a bit of a party by the lake.
The picnic kicked off with the shortest introduction by the Chair (his words not mine!) followed by our birthday cake being cut by the Chair of South Gloucestershire Council Erica Williams, who was ably assisted by our Bradley Stoke Mayor Roger Avenin. Although Roger is a regular user of the reserve, Erica Williams hadn’t visited it before but was very impressed and said: “Thank you for asking me to join the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group on Saturday. Congratulations on your tenth anniversary, it is a great testament to the dedication and commitment that your group has. It is a wonderful place that I shall be visiting again, as will all those to whom I gave your leaflets!”
We were happy to share our duck food with passers-by (and the ducks of course!) and showed many others, both young and old, the delights of making smores! (Melt a marshmallow and squish it between two chocolate digestives) although we’re not sure anyone was able to meet the challenge of eating one without licking their lips.
The group is run entirely by volunteers who last year put in over 1200 hours of work on the reserve and who regularly complete tasks ranging from litter picking, bramble bashing and coppicing to surveying, newt trapping, building ponds and bridges, as well as organising the walks and events for the general public. Our workdays are 10.00am – 4.00pm on the first Saturday of each month and we always welcome new members.
Over 50 people joined our first two bat walks to help us celebrate the 19th International Bat Night (29th-30th August). The walks were led by Avon Bat Group volunteers Stewart & Kerri who bought many bat related items to share with the group before leading them off into the dark! The bats seemed eager not to be left out of the celebrations as there was hardly a moment when at least one detector wasn’t beeping as yet another bat swooped past.
If you aren’t able to book a place on our bat walks you can always borrow from the library, for free, one of our 10 bat detector packs, which contains a Magenta 5 bat detector, bat & reserve leaflets and an identification guide. One of the detectors had been returned missing a dial but we were lucky enough to receive great customer service from Elle at Magenta who arranged a free repair for us!
We were rather envious when Nikki told us that she had spotted, in daylight, a Muntjac deer. If you spot any interesting flora or fauna on the reserve or need any help identifying anything you find we have a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our general feeling is that the reserve is there for everyone, both people and nature, and that you should expect there to be some ‘hazards’ on a nature reserve. However, when scything the orchard, David Baker discovered a wasps’ nest around the base of one of the trees next to the path. He also discovered that they didn’t appreciate his attempts at adding ventilation to the nest and stung him three times. On another day, not to be outdone, I also got stung six times – so we decided that, on this occasion, the nest must go, and it has now been removed by a pest control company.
Photos: (1) Cllr Erica Williams cuts the birthday cake. (2) Group members enjoy a picnic by the ‘duck pond’.
More photos (TBNCG Facebook page)
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.