We had a lovely sunny start to our open day over at the Cockaynes Wood reserve last weekend. The rain did arrive later on in the morning but not before plenty of visitors arrived to see the site and try the activities available.
Refreshments were set up in the old Nissan hut with the assistance of the Tendring group of Essex Wildlife Trust. The Cockaynes Wood Trust marquee provided information about the site and general wildlife information and various activities for children including directions for the family nature trail and colouring pages.
In the main yard area, there was a craft activity provided by Essex Wildlife Trust and also demonstrating the pole lathe and green woodworking techniques we had both the Colchester Countryside Volunteer Rangers and Mark, one of our regular work party volunteers. The CCRV are based at Highwoods Country Park in Colchester and use locally sourced materials to make a variety of wooden tools, utensils and bird and insect boxes among other items.
Guided walks around the site were led by Cockaynes Wood Trust with the assistance of members from the Colchester Natural History Group who were on hand to lend assistance with identifying many of the plants and insects seen on the day. Some of the highlights seen included the very well camoflaged Brimstone butterfly caterpillars on the Alder Buckthorn trees, Oyster Catchers on the scrape and Reed Warblers flying around the ponds.
Our new pond dipping platform on the small pond proved to be a huge success with children and adults alike. The pond proved to be teaming with wildlife and it was great to be able to help everyone identify the creatures they found. These included many juvenile newts (efts), several different species of Dragonfly and Damselfly larvae, snails, freshwater leech, shrimps and a water stick insect.
All in all, a lovely day was had by all despite the rain which did keep visitors away in the afternoon. We are looking forward to building on the successes of this event for next year as the site continues to grow and improve.
Lots more pictures of the day can be seen on the Event Photos page here.