We were working with the volunteers at Swanwick today, chipping up more of the cherry laurel cut earlier in the year, however before we set off I got a call to say that we had cattle out at Hookheath, something of a surprise all round as I did not know we had any cattle there. However a couple of calls later and it turned out that two had been put there on Friday, but the message had not got through to us. Luckily the grazier was in and able to go and collect them and bring them down to Swanwick with the other four similar animals. So reassured that all was in hand we set off for Swanwick and a day chipping.
The morning went well and the laurel stacked on the eastern side of the reserve was reduced to chips. After lunch we headed over to the Centre and the main event, the stacks along the track, but shortly after this things started to go awry. A call to Rob revealed that the grazier had spent all morning trying and failing to catch the escaped cattle, so we stopped chipping and Rob and the Beechcroft team headed off the Hookheath. Luckily the “A Team” managed to round-up the wayward animals in short order and things started to get restored. We had speculated that the fence might have been cut, but it seems the animals just jumped over the wire fence, I can only think this was because they were being chased by something or someone, still we will have a good check round before we try to put any in there again.
With all the excitement more or less no wildlife of note was seen, a singing cuckoo was about the best.
I gather there has been a certain amount of speculation and talk of conspiracies about the Caspian tern of yesterday, as I rather feared there might be. I was both delighted to have seen the bird and rather embarrassed to have done so at the same time. To elaborate a bit, I heard about the report at the Wood Fair, in fact I overheard the report as I was in the ice cream queue and on leaving I asked if there was any news, but there was no more than I had already heard. I had to go over to Waterside in any case and was going to do nothing further, but was persuaded to go and see if it was still there, a wild tern chase I thought, but it was not far and the evening was fine, so what the hell. I was confirmed in my view by the absence of any birders, surely if it had been there it was long gone, but made the walk anyway and to my great delight the bird was there. It dawned on me that the news had not got out and I now had the news. Then the problem of having just gone out for the day and not having my mobile with contacts in it hit home. I had no way of telling anyone, shortly after this the bird flew off. So there I was delighted and yet somewhat embarrassed, I had gone expecting to find a crowd and see nothing. On getting home I put out the news as it was still light and the bird might still be in the area somewhere. I don’t know how many others saw the bird and quite how the report got to the Wood Fair, but I will certainly sort out my mobile phone contacts and make sure they are on every phone. So no conspiracy just lack of preparedness.
A day in the rain at Farlington tomorrow, I wonder what awaits us there, the last few days have been nothing if not eventful!