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MADD day on Brownsea Island

October 27, 2010

By Angie – Vol Admin

Last Saturday was an amazing day; If you didn’t hear about it, it was the CSV MADD day (Make a Difference day) and we had a great turnout and had a fantastic time aswell as getting lots done!

Last weekend, Dan and I decided to join in on the MADD day on Brownsea Island burning Rhododendron, so we left on Friday evening so we could be there nice and early. After a lot of chaos and mixup with boat times…eek… we finally arrived on Brownsea at about 7.30 pm and thankfully got a lift to the Villa as I soon realised after walking about 5 minutes in the dark that we had no idea where we were going and had we gone any further we’d have been completely lost!!

The beautiful sunset on the way over to Brownsea Island captured by Nigel...

Ten minutes into being on the Island we had already seen 5 Sika deer and at very close proximity! It was too dark to take a picture but they were stunning….

Anyway, when we got there we were greeting with all the other DWT crew who were staying over to help out and get an early start the next morning.
There was the mouth-watering coconut and cream curry smell drifting around the Villa which Nigel and Mon were cooking when we arrived and it tasted fantastic… there was even an amazing good old-fashioned rice pudd afterwards!!! We all had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the food – Thankyou guys!! 🙂
They even cooked again in the morning; a full English breakfast for us all, which was really appreciated!

This is the best pic Dan could get with his phone and binoculars and even that was an achievement!

It was the first time Dan had visited the Island, so I decided that we should get up at half 6 to go for a walk and visit the hides and see the Avocets since he was desperate to see them!…. So we walked down to the hide in the dark and spent the next hour and half watching quietly, and yes not only did we see the well-known Avocet… and about 200 after that one…. We managed to see Redshanks, Shoveler ducks, wrens, shelducks, Turnstones, Egrits, Cormorants, Kingfishers and a Green Woodpecker! We also got to see a Red Squirrel very close up from the Villa which was also a wonderful sight!

Red Squirrel by the window on Brownsea Island...I couldn't get much closer!

The volunteers all slowly started to arrive whilst we were finishing up and ive never seen so many people crammed in the Villa all drinking tea and getting ready for the fun-filled day ahead!

The volunteers thoroughly enjoying themselves...

We set out once being briefed on fire safety and tools, and got into groups to start out Rhody burning! We did slip off just before to go and see a water vole with Steve, but unfortunately it had gone by the time we had gone there… so I will keep checking!

It was a surprising lovely day, after hearing that it was going to be raining and cold winds all day it was very warm and sunny (well until a brief downpour in the afternoon!).

Steve, Dan and I... 'the calm after the storm'!

Soon after we all started the controlled fires, the Barclay’s volunteers arrived and we had another safety briefing and then got on with the burning!

Mon burning Rhody and looking rather cold...

They all worked extremely hard and we had a few well-earned tea breaks and were provided with an amazing packed lunch and all sat and ate whilst the rain came in.
The down pour was over very quickly so we could get back to it, thankfully it didn’t affect the fire at all and was doing its job very well!

Dan and I keeping the fire blazing... you would never run out of Rhody to burn on Brownsea!

There was a very amusing moment where Steve had to reel out the water hose and drench an old dead tree that they thought could have been at risk of catching alight (although don’t worry, it didn’t…), it was like a scene out of fireman sam but unfortunately we didn’t catch it on camera…!

What great teamwork!

I think a great time was had by all and we will be looking forward now to the next one next Saturday! If you didn’t get to come last Sat then id deffinately advise you to come to the next one as I’m sure you will thoroughly enjoy yourselves!

Although here’s some advise (We didn’t think about this beforehand!)… Wear some Old clothes that you don’t mind getting holes in as my husband and I didn’t think about that and now our new coats and jumpers are slightly ruined!! Doh!

Steve Davis admires the finished job...

Oh…we checked out the water vole area again before we left but again we didn’t see any although the others that were just coming out of there said they had JUST seen one… typical!! We then ran for the boat but missed it so had to sit enjoying the lovely sun with the amazing view of Poole and Swanage… what a shame :p
We then got on the boat with the other DWT folk later on and then had a well deserved chill out when we got back.

It was a fantastic day! Will deffinately recommend it to all!

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