Testing the water

Friday, January 12th 2018

Part of today has been taken up with routine maintenance work on power tools which included a trip to Sam Turner and Sons to drop off the brushcutters to be serviced.  A new thermostat has also been fitted in the Field Centre to improve the heating as some rooms can be a lot colder than others.  While all this was going on, Colin was continuing his rounds filling the bird feeders and putting out apples on the Water Vole rafts.

Work to remove some of the stands of Hawthorn and Willow that have been taking over one part of the Heathland has now been completed.  This will leave three small clumps that will include Oak and Holly as well as the Hawthorn.  This area will still need to have the Birch regrowth cut back in the next week, while the cut material will be removed and burnt off-site.  The two stakes with orange tape on them mark the location of two of three Junipers which will be transplanted out of the Heathland onto an adjacent site. 

And now a spot the difference competition!  There was still time this afternoon to start work on clearing Reedmace out of one of the Wetland ponds near to the Wetland Hide.  With the (slightly!) warmer weather the pond is now clear of ice, so the vegetation on the shallower side of the pond was earmarked for removal.  At first, the water seemed to be comparatively warm.  However, as it was still close to freezing, the work only lasted for 30 minutes but this is still a case of getting small wins.  The milder weather is set to continue at the start of next week, so further work maybe able to take place for a short period before the icy weather returns on Tuesday or Wednesday.  If anyone likes the idea of Scandinavian saunas, this may be just the job for you!

While doing this, it was clear that there has been a lot of military activity taking place next to the Reserve this afternoon, with rifle fire, parachute flares and red smoke grenades going off.  Most of the wildlife in the Reserve appeared to take this in its stride, with the Exmoor ponies contentedly munching the Moorland grass and three Roe Deer quietly making their way along one of the paths towards the Scrapes, apparently quite happy to tolerate human presence comparatively close to them.


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