Ponies Move Again!

Monday, December 4th 2017

For the last 5 weeks Lark and Taurus, the Exmoor Ponies provided by the Yorkshire Exmoor Pony Society (YEPT), have been doing sterling work munching their way through grass, Gorse and the odd bit of tree on the heathland.  They have certainly made a very big difference to the three areas here, with the vegetation around the heather being nibbled down almost to ground level.

This same picture before they arrived would show large amounts of grass, reed and the shoots of Gorse.  Today they moved to the wetland.  Anyone who saw Countryfile from Scotland a couple of weeks ago will have seen how ponies were being used on the Montrose Basin wetlands as they were proving to eat more of the species that needed to be controlled than the previous use of cattle and sheep.  YEPT were contacted to see if they were happy for the ponies to be moved to this new area and they willingly agreed.

As can be seen, there is plenty of the plants that they favour eating in this area, so they are likely to remain here until the Christmas period when the amount of food available for them will be assessed.  Judging by the way they settled down to eat after having a canter around to examine the extent of their new home, they will be doing their best to consume as much as possible.

In the meantime, there have been some very angry exchanges coming from Kestrels near to the Field Centre throughout the day.  A male and female have been using their full range of threatening calls against two others.  Although they were backing this up with some impressive flying displays, it has been difficult to get a good look at the recipients of this behaviour. It looks like Mum and Dad have had enough of the kids and are being very persistent in making their feelings plain.  Leaving the Reserve this evening after dark, it was nice to hear the noise from the Kestrels had been replaced with the calls of Tawny Owls and a Roebuck.

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