Friday, 27 September 2013

A long overdue update

It has been months since I last posted any news and goings on from the Fen, sorry about that. Reasons and excuses range from not having the internet for a couple of months to being plain busy, but enough of that what is going on down the Fen?

With James leaving I managed to get the Senior Ranger roll leaving us to recruit a new Vision Project Ranger, which we just did last month. Congratulations to Maddie for getting that one! So we are now back to full strength in the Ranger Team at Wicken. There are currently six of us who are (there or there abouts) full time on the fen at the moment with another 6-10 people helping out on regular and occasional days depending on the season and workload. It is always worth saying just how important our volunteers are we simply could not function without them helping us with their time and skills. From the ranger volunteers this week:
  • Repairing a completely smashed bonnet of a tractor that went through a mower. (I thought it was un-repairable)
  • Operating all kinds of machinery to get the droves cut on the Sedge Fen
  • Building new bird tables
  • Managing the Osier Bed
  • Giving guided walks
  • Checking our grazing animals
  • Running the wind pump
  • Doing the butterfly transect
  • And loads and loads of small jobs that keep the place going.

The main work at the moment is managing the National Nature Reserve through the cutting rotation. At the moment that means cutting the droves. I shall have to get the map out when I have a moment and see how many miles there are, but it is fair to say that cutting and clearing the droves is no walk in the park. We disk mow the droves to approximately 6-8 meters in width depending on the location, leave the arisings to dry for a couple of days, then turn them into rows. This gets them ready to be buck raked away into piles to compost down, it also knocks the seeds out onto the droves. 

 Sorry I will have to take a buck raking Picture!
On the wider reserve we are very much keeping to a holding pattern, doing our best to keep the paths in good condition and the gates and so on functioning properly. Being a member of staff down for the Summer season has meant we have all worked very hard to keep things in good condition but have had little time to do all of the extra work we like to do to go the extra step, like replacing the gate handles, improving the fences near access points, replacing worn out signs and so on. 

Now I have finally got myself back on the blog, I hope to get it going properly again with the other rangers chipping in from time to time too. As usual here are a few pictures, more than normal as it has been a while. And also as usual you can see what is going on by looking at my and Wicken Fen’s twitter @vison_warden @wickenfennt