On the 6th October the MSc students from SISS and Wildlife Management and Conservation went to do some habitat management at Warburg Nature Reserve, which is run by BBOWT (Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust).We were tasked with removing woodland edges and scrubby bushes to stop encroachment and succession on the species rich flower meadows. To be honest the weather could have been a little bit better…..it was a bit wet and soggy. However we didn’t let that stop us from getting stuck in shifting large quantities of plant material.
My favourite bit of wildlife that I saw were some marks of a tree which were almost certainly made by deer. I knew of the damage that deer do to trees, especially to saplings, and that deer tend to shift diets onto bark during the winter. However this was the first time I’d knowingly seen the evidence of damage so that was interesting. We also saw a good variety of caterpillars including the pale tussock moth caterpillar which I missed out on but people were kind enough to share photos with me. I found a rather odd looking large pink caterpillar which is still as yet unidentified.
Working with such a large and enthusiastic work party was lovely as it meant that by the end of the day you looked back and really saw what you’d achieved. It was also interesting to see the wardens using a billhook in order to fashion the longer straighter pieces of hazel into usable poles. After a welcome tea break and later on our lunch the work shifted from cutting with bow saws and loppers (the wonderfully sharp bow saws provided were a blessing!), to lugging the trees to the now roaring fire. I spent some of this time chasing Graham with various creatures in the hope that I might be able to start closing some of my massive knowledge gaps. I would like to say I did my bit though as I was tired and bruised by home time, it was brilliant exercise though!
Images are courtesy of India Harvey and Jim Flothmann.