Friday, 28 February 2014

Making the most of the Sunshine

Us Rangers have been rather enjoying the lovely weather we've had over the past fortnight, it's been great to get about the reserve in the sunshine.

At the start of the week, Ruby and Andy helped me to clear the last few trees we had marked for felling during the tree health survey. We dropped an ash tree that was leaning alarmingly over the boardwalk, during which I managed to get very soggy feet. I suppose that's what I get for working at a wet fen! We also cleared the largest of the old Elms at the entrance to the Butterfly trail, to stop dead branches falling onto the path. I have tried to make the stump look like the tree snapped naturally, but I don't think I've managed to fool anybody. Hopefully however, the high stump will become a nice patch of dead wood for lots of insects to find a home in.

Me next to my not so artfully carved Elm stump.
 It was National Nest box Week last week, so we took the opportunity to support the BTO by putting up the rest of our owl nest boxes. There are now  Little Owl boxes at Tubney Fen and Hurdle Hall, and two more Barn Owl boxes at Oily Hall and in the Bog Oak field along Sedge Fen Drove. As someone who is worried by heights I was very grateful to have Andy to help put up a few of them, however, I had to man up to put up the box in the Bog Oak field as Niki is even more scared of heights than I am!

Andy with his superbly erected owl box.
Wild Campers can now watch Barns Owls swooping gracefully to their new home.
What better way to spend a sunny Wednesday than continuing the gargantuan task of fixing the fence around Tubney Fen. A team of us headed out to clear away snapped fence posts, and to destaple long sections ready for them to be tensioned up again. These tasks can seem endless, but in good weather and good company the day acutally becomes quite fun. Even Tic Tac the dog helped us out by digging out some of the buried sections of fencing!

Jack, Andy and Carol enjoying working in the sunshine before stopping for a picnic docky break.

Today I have been trying to hide from the rain so I can pretend the weather is still nice! I spent the morning mowing the new carpark at the end of Harrison's Drove, ready for Lois and I to install new picnic benches there next week. I nearly stepped on what I'm guessing was a field vole, it disapeared to quickly to be certain, and I had two Pied Wagtails following me around. I did try to take a photo of one of them on the fence post but my phone just wasn't up to the job!

My attempt at wildlife photography from a tractor cab with a camera phone. Not sucessful!
The mowing, however, was much more successful.

And finally, the cute picture of the week, that some of you may have seen on Facebook. This is Swift our newest foal. She is now two weeks old and Niki informs me she is already brave enough to eat her pockets.

Swift with mum Yara.

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