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Bird Hide–The Wendy House

Even though we had said ‘Never again’ it didn’t take long before we got to think about a new bird hide and this time with a twist. To give it some protection from the inevitable fire we would put in in the water!

This of course gave raise to a whole new set of challenges. Not only just a hide, but also support in the water and a walkway connecting hide and shore.

Various outlandish ideas were considered such as a dome or an octagonal but in the end we decided to rebuild the one we had and duly some materials were bought. Out of the blue however a radio amateur friend, Colin, had heard about our ideas and promptly offered us his old Wendy House.

We didn’t have to think long and the various sections got delivered to our house. Pressure hose got applied and here’s our raw material for the hide on 17 November 2017

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Of course we needed to apply our own ideas and added observation posts, slide windows, new doors etc. and soon the hide took shape inside my workshop.

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It was quite a challenge to work out dimensions and compound angles. Slowly it got there and was ready for three coats of varnish expertly applied by Ellie. We even had a color scheme.

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The old roof was rotten and broken so the roof section was completely rebuilt. The side windows were quite fun to make using curtain rollers as guides.

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Finally, within the limited space, saloon type doors were more effective, so duly made.

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Now with the hide nearly finished and assembled after three months of work it is time to turn our attention to the construction site.

Bird Hide – prelude


The first hide constructed by the Friends was in the Arboretum, design and execution by Neil. It was put up in March 2015 and well liked but it suffered from lack of birds and view. Here some Woodridge students have fun during an excursion.

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In March 2016 a fire swept through part of the reserve including the Arboretum and the hide was irreparably damaged. A lot of the work we did creating the Arboretum was wiped out, including signage and fencing.

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It was a good opportunity to rethink the location of the hide and, after much discussion, we settled on the wall of the Lilly Pond, part of the Dodds dam area. The views are better from there and there is a mixture of water birds and others. Rudi set out to build the new hut, constructed mainly from bits salvaged from the old one. It was put up in June 2016.

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In June 2017 another fire swept through. This time nearly the entire Reserve was burnt by a very hot fire. Even parts of the forest on both sides of the gorge were affected. Only some of the sections that had burned the year previously were spared.

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The fire was long overdue so in the long run the fynbos will benefit but seeing all our signage and other work destroyed was rather devastating.

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This was left of our precious hide we were so proud of and, judging by all the positive comments in our visitors book (also burnt) was well liked by the public. We set about cleaning the remnants away and gave up the idea of ever having another hide.