I visited Coombes Valley RSPB reserve yesterday with my friend Jonathan, who worked there at the same time I did my research internship. The day was pretty dull when we set out, but quickly turned in to an absolute stunner. In fact, some sun cream and sunglasses were in order! To celebrate National Meadows Day, they had put on their annual Hay Day celebration (which is also a requisite of some National Lottery Funding).
The sun was shining, live folk music floated out from the yurt, children giggled at the creatures found while pond dipping. Stalls had been set up in the education barn for the local bat group, the results of a moth trapping session, and three family craft activities. I examined the moths which had been placed in individual pots, and some were truly beautiful. It was my first time seeing a buff-tip moth up close, and I was utterly convinced the tub contained a piece of twig at first.
We also had a quick walk around the site to look at the finished canopy walk way, and I tried my hand at scything, before we finished with an hour long guided wild flower walk. It was fascinating to discover one of the meadows contained most of the plants being grown as part of one of Angie’s experiments. We harvest them before they reach maturity, so it was interesting to see what they’d grow in to.
It was lovely to catch up with the site manager, Mel, and the head ranger, Bennett, along with some of the long term volunteers; we also got to meet all the new interns who were doing Jonathan or Becky’s jobs now. They aren’t hosting a research intern at the moment, but those are rare so it’s not surprising.