Tuesday, 14 August 2007

See you at the Birdfair

Mill Meadow is adjacent to St Neot's Common, next to the sluices. We manage it from Paxton, but it is effectively an extension of the Common. Last week we cut the grass and gathered it all up, but it contains too many nettles and docks to make good hay so it will be composted. As with our other meadows, the ideal management practice would be to control summer grazing and cut hay to increase plant diversity. However, for our grazing we rely on cattle wandering through from the common. It's a great site for butterbur, which looks like rhubarb and for other waterside plants and invertebrates. During the cut, we come across a lot of small mammals including voles, shrews and harvest mice.

The highlight of next week-end is the annual British Birdwatching Fair (www.birdfair.org.uk) at Rutland Water. We take a stand at this every year. If you haven't been yet, you have misssed out. It is described as the "Birdwatchers' Glastonbury" and it is a great way to give your credit card a good work-out! As well as all the conservation bodies you would expect, you can see travel agents, overseas conservation agencies, artists, photographers and personalities. You can splash out on binoculars, cameras, holidays, paintings, old books, new books, bird-food, clothing and much more, and you can get in a decent birding session which might include ospreys, ruff, green sandpipers and many other birds. There's a wide range of refreshments, events and entertainments laid on, so even non-birders can have a good day out. See you there!