|The wetland on its opening day in 1997 - About as unwild as you can get|
At first it can appear to be ‘invasive’ smothering out more ‘interesting’ vegetation and species. In the old days there was less dense scrub and more Whitethroats but no Long Tailed Tits, Lesser Whitethroats or Blackcaps. Since then the trees and bushes have grown in some areas and begun to shade out the earlier successional Brambles. In the absence of sufficient volunteers and or cattle, Red Deer or Wild Boar to break up the thickets of Brambles it does appear that they are taking over areas of the reserve becoming a mono-culture and they are out-competing some of the more ‘interesting’ plants. Volunteer parties have recently 'become' the large herbivores and broken up some of the stands of Brambles to give the smaller species a fighting chance. Some of the trees have been pruned (equivalent to being broken by passing Wisents?), some have been coppiced and the brash piled up (similar to Beaver activity although the piles are on land not in the water). All that’s missing is the dung, but then as we said earlier there is nutrient deposition in the form of atmospheric nitrogen but that doesn’t help the dung beetles does it…and then species that eat dung beetles at the various stages of their life-cycle…what was it we said earlier about fully functioning ecosystems?
Wild Boar would be great to have around the place grubbing up tasty Bramble roots, disturbing the soil allowing the seed bank to germinate, or perhaps not seeing as the reserve is on a former landfill site bringing more rubbish to the surface to be taken away. Not sure if the neighbouring golf course would be too chuffed to have their greens and fairways excavated, they'd have to go to the expense and inconvenience of securely fencing their perimeter - wouldn't do that would just apply to shoot the boar it's sooooo much easier to get rid of inconvenient wildlife than mitigate against it....isn't that so Badger cullers?
The reedbed areas similarly need breaking up and are difficult to manage with specialist machinery especially in deeper areas...we're thinking Moose! Be great to have a couple of those sploshing around creating open water patches for the amphibians and dragonflies etc and lots of reed edge margin for the Bitterns to fish in as well as forcing channels through the reeds for the fish to move along.
Then we learn that the Glenridding Hotel is flooded yet again the 4th time this winter; if ever there was a time to seriously consider rewilding and mega tree planting on large areas of our National Parks this has to be it. The catchment for Glenridding is about 10 km2 (4 sq miles) and there's barely a tree in sight. Trees won't stop flooding altogether but they can slow flows and reduce the peak water. It's surely time the general public asked farmers to farm water and wildlife as well as sheep and cattle - we need them more than the little meat they give us from the marginal 'agricultural' land. The government need to set policies and incentives for farmers to be able to do just that. Trees in the hills what will The Ramblers say?
|On this map there are place names of deer, Wild Boar and Heron (?=Erne = eagle) hint's of what used to live there and perhaps could again some day soon.|
Apologies for the dodgy formatting - not sure what's going on there, been a nightmare!
Where to next? More rain, wind and wave wimping on Patch 2 probably
In the meantime let us know how wild your outback is being allowed to get.