Progress

 As with all our reserves, Restharrow Scrape reserve is CLOSED due to the coronavirus situation.

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However the wardening team are visiting as part of their daily exercise.

An update from 28 April from Steffan:

Water levels are at 220. There are good edges to the islands. All of the lower islands are still just below the water level. The banks and sides of the paths are greening up.

There were Brent Goose, three Bar-tailed Godwits, and two Dunlins on there this lunchtime. Plus 29 Great Black-backed Gulls which is probably a record total for the Scrape. Gulls have started using the roof of the Vida Madell hide as a daytime roost!

Breeding activity so far:

  • brood of 13 Mallard ducklings
  • at least five pairs of Coots on nests
  • two pairs of Moorhens on nests
  • Oystercatchers are on eggs
  • territorial pair of Lapwings but no evidence of nest yet
  • Little Grebes were nestbuilding but Coots destroyed it
  • Canada Geese were on the nest but may have abandoned
  • up to eight Gadwall and 20 Tufted Ducks so they will probably be nesting somewhere and maybe Greylag Geese too
  • at least 8, poss 10, nests of Black-headed Gulls

In the week up to 28th April the waders on the Scrape were: Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, and Dunlin.

28 04 2020 Bar-tailed GW

Bar-tailed Godwit in summer plumage on the Scrape on 28 April 2020

Some photos taken on 6th April by Steffan including our first proven breeding since the renovation/expansion:

  • A warden’s view from the Vida Madell Hide 6 April 2020

  • Mallard ducklings on the Scrape 6 April 2020

  • verges greening up 6 April 2020

The benches have arrived and will be put in place once we are able to do so.

BENCHES 1

The markings for the disabled parking bays were completed on 24th March by Steve from Archway following strict social distancing:

line marking #2

Here are a couple of photos from before the current closure:

Thanks to Nick Smith for this evidence of birds using the new shingle spits.

Little Ringed Plover RHS Mar20 NSmith

Little Ringed Plover on our new shingle spit 20 March 2020

 

Dunlin on our shingle spit 20 March 2020

Dunlin also on the shingle 20 March 2020

The information board and bike racks were put in place on 12th March 2020

the bike racks and information board in place – photo by Ken Chapman

There are some things left to do: notice boards, bike racks, benches and audio post to be installed; information and artwork to go in the hides; the fencing of the meadow area (to be done in the Autumn, after the breeding season).

If you have any ideas of what you would particularly like in the hides please let us know at info@sbbot.org.uk

This was on the Scrape on Saturday 7th March (thank you to Steve Ray for the photo):

Water Pipit 7th March 2020

Water Pipit 7th March 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further progress at Restharrow Scrape Nature Reserve:

  • Accessible kissing gate at entrance awaiting concreting in

  • fencing along main path looking inland

  • Refurbishment of Graham Crick hide showing extra light from viewing slots

  • refurbishment of Graham Crick hide showing new lining

  • Fence erection along path to Vida Madell hide

  • Vida Madell hide from edge of Scrape with left hand anti disturbance blind in place

  • Vida Madell hide and right hand blind from the Scrape edge

The water level mid February at nearly 220cm:
Water level at just below 220cm

Water level at just below 220cm

Some of the works progressing on Restharrow Scrape January/February 2020:

  • The beginnings of the path to the Vida Madell hide Jan 2020

  • working on the refurbishment of the Graham Crick hide

  • One of the four new screens being erected to prevent disturbance to the birds on the Restharrow Scrape Nature Reserve

What Restharrow Scrape looks like in January 2020:

aerial picture taken 18th January 2020 by Nik Mitchell

aerial picture taken 18th January 2020 by Nik Mitchell

 

The Laowing appreciate the expanded Scrape. photo by Steve Reynaert

The Lapwing appreciate the expanded Scrape. photo by Steve Reynaert

Help needed from 20th January

We are hoping to use the time of the closure for the path and parking works to also have a work party to refurbish the existing hide and various other activities. These include refurbishing the inside lining and notice boards, fitting a new door, upgrading the fire exit door, re-glazing in perspex the four oldest slots  to let in more light- all in the existing hide plus building new screening and adding an outside coat of preservative to the existing hide (weather permitting). Please let us know at info@sbbot.org.uk if you can help with any of this.

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KAC double rainbow over Scrape 181019Ken Chapman took this picture from the hide on 19th October.

The new hide is now in place – it will be open to all once it is safe to do so – once the pathway and screening have been constructed.

The Scrape is closed at present to allow the work on the path extension to the new hide, the construction of the two parking bays for disabled visitors and other work to be completed. The closure will last until all the planned work is complete and is to ensure that Health and Safety requirements for the site are met.

It has been decided to recognise the significant legacy we were willed by Vida Madell by naming the new hide the Vida Madell hide as this legacy meant we did not need to compromise on what we wanted for the new hide.

  • Hide parts being delivered to the Scrape site 18th November 2019

  • Base being constructed attaching to the plastic wood piles embedded in concrete

  • Base almost complete

  • First side wall going up

  • ready for the roof

  • Roof struts going up

  • Roof under construction

  • Final layer of roof going on

  • Door on

  • The inside

  • the completed hide 20th November 2019

The Scrape is now beginning to fill with water:

picture taken on 20th November 2019

The water is now up to 170 centimetres above mean sea level.

The water is now up to 170 centimetres above mean sea level.

pictures from Nik Mitchell taken on 25th October 2019

  • View towards the Ancient Highway

  • The Scrape from the Deal end

  • Water beginning to separate the islands

  • Water beginning to fill the spaces around the new V shaped island

  • The V shaped island seen from directly above

  • The site of the path to the new hide

  • the existing hide

Photos by Brian Short taken on one of our walks around the Scrape on 19th October:

  • looking from the inland bank towards the Ancient Highway across the Scrape

  • the channel between the inland bank and the V shaped island

  • Looking towards the V shaped island

  • testing the view from the site of the new hide

  • looking from the site of the new hide towards the existing hide

  • the view from the front of the new hide site

  • welcome rain – looking from the maintenance track towards Worth

  • looking from the far (Observatory) side of the Scrape back towards the site of the new hide

We had our first members’ activity on 18th October.

Thank you to Michelle Boakes for leading our volunteers workshop day looking at how the project moves forward and how we can judge our successes.
Michell and a couple of the groups working on our project evaluation

Michelle and a couple of the groups working on our project evaluation

Thank you to all the people who came to help us – there will be other opportunities to help in the future

The excavations are complete. Thank you to Ovendens for a magnificent job.

The deep trench around the perimeter of the Scrape

The deep trench around the perimeter of the Scrape

the site of the new hide marked out

the site of the new hide marked out

Last checks to make sure nothing has been missed

Last checks to make sure nothing has been missed

Almost there:

apologies that some of these pictures take a while to load they are quite large files
Nik Mitchell's picture of the Scrape on 9th October.

Nik Mitchell’s picture of the Scrape on 9th October.

Come and see for yourself on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October. Walks at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm each day. Please sign up in the Field Centre. First come First served – 12 places on each walk available.

Photo montage from Nik Mitchell showing the comparison between August and October 2019

The Scrape is at present a very popular part of what we offer at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory. We really hope you will be willing to help us in our long-held dream of developing this piece of wildlife habitat for the future.

With your help we have already purchased the Scrape field to secure it’s future. We can now develop it further to benefit the flora and fauna in the area. We are going to extend the Scrape, creating a larger sanctuary for wildlife with a huge focus on nesting birds. New islands and shingled areas will create more habitat for wetland species, hopefully increasing numbers of breeding Waders such as Avocet.

Deepened areas will mean we have more water present during dry spells, ensuring there is habitat available for not only breeding birds but a whole host of aquatic life dependent on this type of environment. The creation of a Wildflower Meadow will provide an additional area for pollinators, which could also benefit Turtle Doves, Finches and Buntings.

Excavations – enlarging and remodelling

Following a tendering process, Ovendens have been appointed as the contractor to carry out this excavation work. They started work on 16th September. The Scrape is now closed to everyone for a period of up to four weeks.

WATCH THIS SPACE for up to date news.

Photos by Nik Mitchell taken on 9th October:

  • Aerial view

  • The new V shaped islands with the start of the shingle topping

  • New extension showing deep channel and start of shingle area

  • Shaping the outer bank of the new extension

  • the enlarged area of the existing scrape showing the start of the deep channel

  • working on the deep channel looking towards the entrance corner of the scrape.

  • Bill and Steffan checking the latest works

  • and again

Nearly at the end of the excavation work. Latest of Bill’s photos taken on 8th October.

  • Digging the deep channel in front of the existing hide. The base is zero datum. The rest of the scrape is 1.40m above datum.

  • There is a red light on the little yellow box just above the bucket that flashes to tell the operator when he has reached the correct depth

  • The little yellow box communicates with the GPS on the tripod in this photo

  • The V shaped island shaping up on the 8th October

  • new water depth indicator posts by Alastair Henderson. Meadow height is 2.65 metres above datum.

  • The main Scrape depth is 1.40m above datum.

Latest photos from Bill Martin showing the huge changes taking place so quickly.

  • route of the new pathway to the new hide

  • view towards the Ancient Highway from the new hide site

  • another view towards the Ancient Highway from the new hide site

  • View towards the new extension diggings from the entrance corner

  • View of the new extension diggings from the existing hide

  • Digging the new V island viewed from the Observatory end

  • View of the new extension from the new hide site

You can see the digger and dumper working on 2nd October if you click here:
Thank you Nik for this video

LOST PROPERTY:

The archaeologists found nothing but the digger driver found long lost treasure

The archaeologists found nothing but the digger driver found long lost treasure

 

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Aerial photo taken on 29th September by Nik Mitchell showing the extent of the excavations so far

Photos taken by Bill Martin on 30th September

  • The central deep pit newly shaped

  • The creeping willow islands from Graham’s hide

Photos taken by Bill Martin on 27th September showing some of the deeper areas being created

  • Digging the deeper area

  • The deep area is quite large

  • the deep area around the new islands

  • The view from the far side of Graham’s hide is being improved

Photos taken by Bill Martin on 24th September after the rain and showing the three new islands:

  • After the rain looking along towards the existing hide from the Ancient Highway.

  • Looking along the Ancient Highway side

  • Showing the creation of three new islands.

  • Close up of the new islands

Today’s caption competition!

suggestions to info@sbbot.org.uk

Picture by Nick Smith

Picture by Nick Smith from the excavations on Friday 20th September

Photos from 20th September:

  • Two diggers working together on one of the new areas of the Scrape. Photo by Nick Smith

  • Photo by Nick Smith showing two diggers working together and showing the marker flags

  • The growing bund beside the road photo by Nick Smith

  • Checking levels photo by Nick Smith

WORK HAS STARTED – Pictures taken on the first day of the works – 18th September 2019:

  • The bulldozer being unloaded – photo by Bill Martin

  • One of the diggers arriving – photo by Bill Martin

  • Digger at work – photo by Bill Martin

  • Digger at work from Scrape side – photo by Bill Martin

the Scrape field on 25th August showing the archaeological trenches refilled and the preparation for some of the new islands by the conservation team. Photograph by Nik Mitchell

the Scrape field on 25th August showing the archaeological trenches refilled and the preparation for some of the new islands by the conservation team. Photograph by Nik Mitchell

Restharrow Scrape archaeological dig

plan from Canterbury Archaeological Trust for the archaeological dig at Restharrow Scrape 13th to 14th August 2019

Plan from Canterbury Archaeological Trust for the archaeological dig at Restharrow Scrape 13th to 14th August 2019

  • Our conservation team preparing the site for the trenches

  • The digger arriving while preparation work continues

  • digging a trench

  • a completed trench

  • the trench showing mainly sand

  • a trench filling with water

Restharrow Scrape field from the air 12th August 2019 by Nik Mitchell

Restharrow Scrape field from the air 12th August 2019 by Nik Mitchell. You can see in the near area where the vegetation has been cleared by our conservation team in preparation for the archaeological excavation trenches.

 

Below is the basic plan that was submitted with the Planning Application to Dover District Council.

plans

 

The installation of a Barn Owl box is complete.

We welcomed the Kentish Stour Countryside Project who have generously donated two Barn Owl boxes to SBBOT. One for Restharrow Dunes reserve and one for the Restharrow Scrape project.

Welcoming the Barn Owl team from Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership

Welcoming the Barn Owl team from Kentish Stour Countryside Project

 

Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership attaching the Barn Owl box to the telegraph pole

Kentish Stour Countryside Project volunteers attaching the Barn Owl box to the telegraph pole.

Erecting the Barn Owl box:

  • Constructing the Barn Owl box

The Barn Owl box on Restharrow Scrape is viewable from the existing hide.

Looking past the new Barn Owl box towards the existing hide.

Looking past the new Barn Owl box towards the existing hide.

Members and visitors will be able to enjoy other views of the scrape not only from our existing hide, but also from a second hide with other development plans including the creation of a Sand Martin Bank.

We have so far had meetings to discuss the hide, the excavations, the sand martin bank (with thanks to the family of the late Edward Cowley for a copy of their father’s seminal book on the subject), the path, the disabled parking area, the assistant warden (click here for details of the role) , volunteers, evaluation – how the project is going and how it has been received and basic training for volunteers, Trustees and staff.

volunteers needed

 

 

 

 

The new hide is in production and should be installed during November 2019

Artists impression of new hide to be installed in November 2019

Artists impression of new hide to be installed in November 2019

RHS measuring hide footprint 05 2019