Friday, 31 January 2014

Exciting Wildlife Spotting Considering the Weather

I've had a very office based week this week, sorting orders for our new fencing and various other projects. But the rest of the Ranger team have been out and about and busy.

A team of us went up to Verrall's Fen to complete the scrub clearance experiment for this year. Ruby blogged a few months ago about the stump grinder being taken up to clear three of the 15 experimental plots, and we have now finished hand clearing three more. This means the clearing cycle has finished for the season, and we will start up again later in the year. While up on Verrall's we had a competition of how many many different animal species we could spot. Ruby got up to aruond 30, the best of which being a Ring Tailed Hen Harrier, though best spot went to Andy for seeing a Barn Owl over the Sedge Fen in the middle of the day.

Carol, Tony and Andy spent the day on Wednesday pushing back some of the scrub in the gallops field by the butterfly trail. The two highland cattle that have spent the autumn behind the Visitor's Center have now been moved over to this field. The girls are enjoying their new surroundings and having a bit of extra space provided by pushing back the scrub.

Andy and John spent yesterday pollarding the big old willow tree in front Visitor's Centre. This old willow has seen better days, and because of it being situated right next to a footpath, we pollard it annually. We take the heavier branches off to reduce the pressure on the top on the tree. Pollarding also helps to extend the life of the tree and so Andy and John have also been pollarding some of the willows along Sedge Fen Drove.

The Willow's New Hair Do
When I've escaped the office I have been out and about around the wider nature reserve, looking after our fencing contractors and sussing out a few other jobs that need to be done. The contractors have done a fanstastic job with our new corral on Burwell Fen and they are now making improvements to the car park at the end of Harrisons Drove before fixing the fencing on Tubney Fen.
An extension has been added to the corral to make rounding up the livestock easier.

While checking the cattle on Burwell, mostly checking whether Rush had calved (which she hasn't!), I saw loads of wildlife out, including a short eared owl, a heron, roe deer, lots of goldfinch and skylark. I didn't even get down to southern part of Burwell Fen where I know there are lots of geese and widgeon enjoying the wetter areas. I even saw a Little Owl on Tubney Fen later that afternoon and a Buzzard on Oily Hall, I was very happy by the end of the day! So it's worth taking the longer walk around Burwell Fen if you find yourself with a spare afternoon, and if the rain ever stops!

1 comment:

  1. Stuart Warrington7 February 2014 at 14:47

    Inside that lovely old hollow Willow last year, a new species to Wicken Fen was found! A slime mould (a very strange life form, it can move - very very slowly).