Recently in our funny 6000 acre world we have been focusing on the fences around the main grazing area. For the most part, we don’t need to replace the wire, just replace stakes or posts, and missing fencing staples. Still, it is a nice excuse to be out and about on the Forest, although Dartford Warblers still evade me!
We have also erected the electric fence for a smaller grazing area in Black Bog for our Galloway cattle. The lines through the taller vegetation had already been cut and it took us a couple of days to put up the fence. It isn’t electrified yet but warning signs will go up when it is!
This is the same area where we cleared the rhododendron earlier in the year and the Scots Pines in that area are a favourite of Crossbills, picking seeds out of fir-cones. Just as we were finishing the last stretch of the fence, one bird was feeding and dropping its discarded fir-cones so rapidly I was able to catch one! Here it is and you can see how all the spines on the fir-cone have been opened by the Crossbill.
I also saw in this area a Green Tiger Beetle, a heathland specialist, on the bare ground just above where we had been fencing. These only appear at this time of year and if you can get close enough (this one didn’t hang around for long) you can see it has some very impressive pincers!
The job isn’t all fun, working in nice places and writing blogs, as we are in the middle of the Forest-wide litter pick. Needless to say, there are much more worthwhile things that we could be doing so could everyone please take their litter home with them!
There have been some highlights though, like when I was emptying one bag into another and found a female Great Huntsman Spider (Micrommata virescens) on the bottom. It was quite alright and it scurried away but I was really surprised by the vibrant, bright green!
That’s all for now from your friendly Countryside Worker,