Setting the table

It seems like a lot of our time is taken up with grass cutting at the moment and on that note we’ve been very busy at Farlington over the last couple of weeks.

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Perfect for a hungry goose

A lot of the cutting we do supplements the grazing work going on, to reduce the tough stuff the cattle won’t eat and help with the overall diversity of the sward and the benefits that brings to inverts etc.

Farlington is a little different as our goal is more geared towards providing  optimum foraging and roosting habitat for our winter waders and wildfowl. In particular Brent Geese.

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The vols hard at work – long hours of strimming

There has been a lot of research into Brent Goose feeding behavior and the overall view is that a short sward, under 5cm, is perfect for the geese to feed on. It doesn’t matter how you arrive at this, cutting, grazing etc. This is why you often see them on playing fields throughout the area. This has become more important in recent years as there has been a significant loss in salt marsh and inter tidal grazing of eel grass that they would normally use.

The cows do the bulk of the work on the marsh but this time of year we cut all around the Deeps and other areas that hold water in winter, to get an autumn flush of grass and a nice short sward – setting the table for the Brents arriving. Our volunteers have therefore worked tirelessly over the last couple of weeks to do this. Hopefully this will mean the Brents and other species such as Wigeon, will have an excellent area to feed on over the winter.

On other news, birds are starting to pick up on the marsh. Recently there has been a Marsh Harrier hanging around, large numbers of Black Tailed Godwits and several Common Sandpipers with the odd Green one. We also saw a Raven floating around whilst working yesterday.

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The guys. Not that the masses of thistles aren’t ideal but on the plus side there were over 100 Goldfinches on them

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