Sunday, 29 March 2009

Hard Graft

The Tern raft needed some repairs. I said "you're having a girraft if you think I'm helping you turn that thing over." But they didn't, and we did, twice, so here is the story in pictures and captions!

Above: Matt and Steve placing the polystyrene scientifically!

Above: Securing the polystyrene with chicken wire. No chickens were hurt during the making of this!

Above: After Terning the raft back over, we put the gravel back on, attached perches (it's all in the details) and got the anchors on board ready for the journey.

Above: A boat powered by Matt & oar, towed us along by one corner while Steve used a spade to take a square raft into deeper waters! How did we ever get it out there without mishap! I just increased the drag in the water so I could take photographs!

Above: Finally, we anchored it and left. No sooner had we left it than the cormorants found it and started drying their wings in the sun! AKA Steve (left) and Mark (Right).

Getting to grips

There is another reason these tyres will be good - for us ringers. With any luck, when the terns nest, they will use these tyres. When we go out to the island to roundup and ring the terns this year, although we will still have to tread carefully, it should be easier to locate and replace the chicks back in the same location.

Above: Place sections of turf/soil carefully around the tyre to soften the view. Then repeat the whole process until you have run out of tyres.

Above: A long job requires sustenance. I didn't bring lunch along with me so I ordered takeaway pizza!

Above: The final product close up.

Above: A good spread - we had lots of room to play with here and have 12 tern tyres. Terns do nest quite close together, so if this experiment works, we may well roll out more for next year!

Mark has vowed to do a study into which make of tyre works best, goodyear, michelin, pirelli - I think it's all an excuse to get a pirelli calender!

I don't know about you, but I'm tyred (Broom Broom!) of all the puns.

Reinventing the wheel

I woke to a phone call this morning at 9.50am (a well deserved lie in) from Mark. "how soon can you get over to broom?". A lazy day gone out of the window, I found mylself cycling from Bedford to Broom (approx 50mins and 10 miles). I didn't know what Mark had in store for me to do ...

Above: Extreme fly tipping! All that effort to dump tyres out on the island! Well, at least that is what it looked like to two passers by who were watching with their binoculars (or were they taking photographs?)!

Here is what we actually did ... (patented by Mark Thomas!)

Above: Back on the island Mark had a use for the tyres. 1st, you dig a round hole.
Above: A back seat driver!
Above: Place the tyre in the ground (no need to bury it) and use the turf to partially fill the tyre and weigh it

Above: Partially fill the tyre with gravel. Once finished, it should be about half full.
The reason for doing this is to create a nesting ground for Terns (in this case the common variety). The tyre is part buried to soften, or even hide them from view. The advantage this method has is that baby common terns can hide from predators under the lip of the tyre (which can be left in tact or cut away a bit).

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

What I've been doing

I've been out and about a lot - for work. Here are a few images of what I've been doing.

Above: A coppice stool. I've been taking out experienced volunteers to coppice hazel for product (stakes & binders for hedgelaying) and I've also been teaching people how & why we do it.

Above: My regular team of volunteers worked late in the day to finish constructing this raised pond.

Above: A student from Cranfield University is laying his first tree!

Above: 16 - 25 year olds (with an Autism Spectrum Disorder) from Autism Bedfordshire, Samuel Whitbread School and Mark Rutherford School and their support worked at Priory Country Park to improve a woodland for biodiversity.