Monday, 5 November 2012

Belt up - we're off home!

Just a quick posting in case anyone looks out over Hempholme Meadows tomorrow and sees no cattle!

The five belted galloway cattle owned by Edward and Nicola Duggleby that have spent autumn grazing the habitat have done an excellent job, and as the weather has turned and the grass stopped growing, are now returning home to be bedded down for winter.

They certainly seem to have tackled the reedmace and latterly the poplar regeneration too.  All vegetation including rushes and grasses has now been grazed down but the breed has skirted round the meadowsweet, which is great as now this charismatic species of the meadow should have a bumper year next year, and perhaps all that trampling will see the return of the large flowered hemp nettle.

The jack snipe is a grand start to winter on the meadow and now the cattle have left, we will be gradually raising the water levels to make it even more appealing.  When we have a wet spell (if it ever gets dry!) we'll be aiming to flood the lower areas of the habitat for around 10 days which will float some seeds for wildfowl, and kill off a lot of the dry land loving perennial weeds like creeping thistle and docks.