Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Tb tests, animal movements and winding down for winter.

This past month at the fen has been a busy one for the grazing rangers. The final set of TB testing began on November 19th for the cows on Verrall’s Fen and the two girls next to the visitor centre. All of our cows have now been tested and are clear of TB.
The next stage for the grazing rangers, occurring in the first week of December, is the movement of around half of the breeding horses on Baker’s Fen to Burwell Fen. The horses that are moved will become a non-breeding herd. The grazing rangers are using DNA results to aid their decisions about who stays as part of the breeding herd and who moves over to Burwell. While aiming to maintain family groups and a good age structure in both groups, the horses that are the most genetically diverse and unrelated will be the ones that continue to breed on Baker’s Fen.

On the Sedge fen the annual cutting of the droves has been completed, and the two of the tractors used in the summer cuttings have been put to bed for the winter months. The summer boat trips have also come to an end meaning that the pontoon needed to be removed and stored for the winter. Andy, our full-time volunteer ranger was the lucky one this year who got to tow the pontoon out of the water. It can be a tricky job, but someone has to do it!
The rangers are beginning to prepare for the winter jobs, including maintaining the reserves paths by putting out the duckboards for visitors to walk over on the wetter parts of the Nature Trail.

Andy pulling the pontoon out of Wicken Lode

East mere hide has recently been cleared over the space of three days by the ranger team, allowing for a clear view to the mere, and a view of the variety of duck species.

East Mere Hide after being cleared
Unfortunately everyone has been so busy this past month that we have only a few photos to show for our work!