If youvisit the Reserve, generally on a Saturday morning but sometimes on other days, you will probably know it's there. Even if you can't see it you may well hear it. What a wide range of sounds it makes! Like the crackling of burning branches in a roaring fire; like the soft paddling of an oar splashing gently on water; like the tap, tap, tapping of nails into wood; like the hum of a mechanical workhorse; and like the vibrant echo of a distant chain-saw. Occasionally you may hear one member of the flock call with the distinctive cry of "T'up".
At other times when it's not on site you know that it has passed through. The signs are usually obvious but not always. It leaves track marks along its trail, fresh wood chippings over the footpaths and vast areas of vegetation that it has systematically and deliberately cleared and then packed neatly into huge piles from which foxes may later lounge in the sun.
It also builds shelters at various places using wood it has clearly found around the Reserve and then carried or dragged across hundreds of yards. These shelters are large enough to hold several members of the group and they offer practical protection against the elements. At the same time, these shelters provide the perfect opportunity to look out for and observe other passing creatures without being seen themselves.
This is not just an occasional or seasonal visitor. It can be spotted at least weekly and in any month of the year. Over a period of time it can be found in all areas of the Reserve, on land, in water or amongst the trees. Its presence is not restricted by the weather - it has been seen in snow, rain, wind and glorious sunshine. Nothing except torrential downpours appear to deter it. One can have nothing but admiration for it. It is multi-talented, friendly and highly motivated, Its purpose in life is to bring benefit to the Reserve and all its creatures, as well as pleasure to each and every visiting member of the Society.
Sadly though, its numbers are low. But you can help increase them. All you have to do is come along sometime and join the Maple Lodge Work-Party.....