Thursday, 30 August 2012

Lode Star festival and working up high on the pylons

Lode Star Festival

If you are heading down to Lode Star Festival then do pop in and say hello at our stall while enjoying some music and the other festival fun. I haven’t been before but I have certainly heard good things. Lovely spot for a chilled out weekend and lets hope the weather is ok for it too.

Working up high on the pylons

Babcock have been working on the pylons near Reach and Burwell for UK Power Networks and it isn’t a job I fancy after watching them climb to the top past 132kv power lines. They are wrapping the fibre optic cable at the very top. This pylon is on Hurdle Hall. They must get a great view from the top but when the wind got up and the rain came down it looked hard work indeed.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Still many things to get done…..

We still have a myriad of small jobs to get done and a few big ones lurking too. On Tuesday Owen came in and lent a hand, this was great news as we got a lot done, we finally hung a gate at Oily Hall, got the White Fen picnic area mowed and kept up the work on the footpath at the base of Monks Load leading to Priory Farm. We also gave the wild campsite at Oily Hall the once over to make sure it was all in good order for the people staying down there. Today was split between flipping our old boat over so it can be painted and getting our Tractor Shed organised as the rain came down.

Over the next few weeks there is much more footpath maintenance to keep up, fences to fix, and barn doors to repair. Nothing super exciting to be honest but many small things to make the Nature Reserve easy to access and a lovely place to visit.

On a completely different note we popped down to Cornwall for a couple of days which was nice. Down there we visited many lovely places including the Lobster Hatchery where they help maintain the populations and conserve the species in the South West. This is Goliath, who is about 30 years old!

We also visited Levant Mine, with its working steam engine. If you are anywhere near defiantly pop in there.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

250 different species of moth in one night and I move a big concrete block!

Moth Trapping

On the 24th of July Dave Grundy and Chris Williams came down to the fen and set up their moth Traps. The result was over 250 different species being identified which is fantastic. The warm conditions were far more favourable than when we popped down to have a look at the chaps trapping in June. Goat Moths, Small Chocolate-tips and Dentated Pugs were amongst the highlights.

Over 8000 species have been recorded on the Sedge Fen with moths making up over 1000 of them. There are ‘only’ 35 species of butterfly at Wicken so if you found the idea of identifying all the moths a bit daunting it might be more fun to start there. You can also see them more easily during the day and we have a Butterfly Trail to explore if you like. This is not to say moths don’t come out during the day though, so you can still spot them too!

Goat Moth by Dave Grundy

Block Moving

At the opposite end of the conservation spectrum I had to move a big concrete block to allow the bank mowers access to Reach Lode Bridge. It was good fun flipping it over and rolling it away. So much fun that I took a picture.

I also got the giant electric fence spool we made a few years ago out. Saves loads of time when winding in hundreds of meters of electric fence wire. Unhook the top wire for a section, tie it to the toe bar then drag up the line, stop, reel it in and repeat along the bottom section. Also great as it meant I could hide from the mid day sun.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Tim's Careership comes to an end.

Tim is getting ready to finish his Careership at Wicken Fen next week so a big thank you to him for all of his hard work over the past 3 years and his time volunteering prior to that. He has certainly left his mark on the place, notably with the Fenman’s Workshop. So next time you are down the fen make sure you get round the back of the Fen Cottage and check it out.  Also have a look at the cake! It was very nice too.

We have been working on a few different things this week. We started pushing the posts in for a new pond dipping platform, finally got the Omega signs back on Burwell Fen, worked on budgets and kept working away on the picnic areas (Tim and Maddy to thank for that)

Today was good, me and Carol (our Grazing Warden) went out to Burwell Fen to check a few things out and baited the cattle along the way on Bakers Fen. It has been a while since I had been out with the cows and they played there part nicely by following us to the corral. We are baiting them so that we can round them up and move one on to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust later next week. Hopefully I will add some pictures later with the cows in.

Off for the weekend in a bit. We have got tickets to see the Men’s Heavyweight Freestyle Wrestling Final on Saturday so I’m looking forwards to that. Also on a totally different note some nice walks around the fens near Upaware.

Have a good one.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Path Mowing, fence planning and Olympic Tyres to the rescue.

The past week has been taken up with a lot of planning work the for next financial year. We are hoping to move our stock to Burwell Fen and as the fences were installed about ten years ago there are some repairs to plan and also some changes to make.  We will be running our stock in a different way to how the land has been managed over the past decade, and as such it will be looking to build new some fences to enclose some previously ungrazed fields and with a spot of luck adding a few more gates amongst other things. 

I am still trying to catch up on our care of the paths, entrances picnic areas and so on. Maddy and Tim have been working hard to get thing back on track and I have also been out cutting when I get a spare moment. So sorry if you are out there and see things are looking a bit rough around the edges still, but slowly we catch up and with a spot of luck we can get the grass on all the paths down to a level to stop people getting soaked walking along and looking smart where they need to and functional where they don’t. 

Olympic Tyres in Soham have been fixing our punctures, getting our new tyres, and getting us moving for a good number of years now and once again came to the rescue the other day so I would like to say thanks to them for fixing my bent steering arms (not my proudest moment!) and put out a good word for them. So do check them out if you need anything tyre, exhaust, servicing and so on related. Always top chaps and the bakers is jsut round the corner too!
More of the same this week is the plan but let’s see how it pans out I suppose.

Wild Camp is looking nice and green: