Tales from the Trainees – Autumn

Tales from the Trainees – Autumn

A blog by Trainee Reserve Officer, Claire Evans So what have we been doing since we started? That is a very good question. Autumn was a steep learning curve as we started our adventure into the world of habitat management. After a tour of the reserve and the wider reservoir we got down to some real work.                         The first task on the agenda was to get the islands on the lagoons cut back to provide loafing opportunities for the wildfowl in the day and in preparation for the 2018 breeding season. In order to do this we had to learn how to use the brushcutter and BCS. The brushcutter was easy to use whilst the BCS took some getting used to! As the water levels low we could walk out to some of the islands (in waders), however we employed a high-tech piece of machinery for the islands on lagoon 1. Please welcome the boat! With the volunteers as our trusty navigational guides we made it to the islands and back successfully and, most importantly, without casualties!                 There are some unsung heroes on the reserve, the livestock! We have Hebridean sheep and Dexter cattle at the reserve. Matt had previously worked with sheep at his local reserves but Alex and I had never worked with animals before so this proved to be a challenge especially as they both have horns! The animals are here to help with meadow management and they don’t need paying, except with food!    ...
Tales from the Trainees – Winter

Tales from the Trainees – Winter

Winter!  My favourite season.  I look forward to those frosty starts with the whistling of the Redwing, the chattering of the Fieldfare and the winter wildfowl sounds.  I also enjoy how you can sleep in and yet still get out for dawn to go bird watching… Anyway, whilst I could write a whole blog post about how I walk on cloud nine when snow begins to settle, it’s probably best I should tell you what we’ve been up to…  Let’s make this a reserve relevant post and not merely a monologue! Where do I start?  Winter is when a great deal of the habitat management work takes place on the reserve.  We’ve covered a great deal from woodland management, scrub clearance, hedgelaying and even hide building.  Yes, let’s start with hide building.       Before starting at Rutland Water, we had no carpentry experience but, thanks to the brilliant volunteers, we were quickly shown our way around the woodworking world whilst replacing Lapwing hide.  Lapwing hide overlooks the main water and we were involved in nearly all aspects of its construction from building the floors and hide flaps, cladding the walls and fitting the roof – something we never thought we’d be doing this time last year!  Now it’s completed, it is a great sense of achievement to be birding from it.  If you’ve got some spare time and want to visit the best hide on the reserve (in our opinion, anyway), it’s well worth a walk down to Lapwing hide!                   One of the highlights of the winter work...

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