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!
Some of you eagle-eyed visitors may have noticed a new gate was installed at the back of lagoon 8, we did that! Digging the hole for the hanging post was physically demanding so we took turns and eventually the hole was the correct depth, then we just had to make sure that we got the post in straight. After this we did the same for the clapper post and the new gate was ready to be hung. We added some rails so that the gate joined with the existing fence line and the job was complete!
In October we had the opportunity to go out checking bat boxes around the reservoir. We were all very excited! Checking the boxes entailed clambering up ladders to get to the box and, if bats were in the box, trying to get them out so that we could take some measurements from them, without any escapees! We found 3 species that day, being: Soprano pipistrelle, Nathusius’ pipistrelle, and Whiskered bat.
During our first months here we have been supported by the brilliant staff and volunteers here who have had endless patience and are always willing to teach us new skills. We thank you!
Until next time, TROs out!