Over the past couple of weeks, the wardens at Fairburn have been making wildlife rafts! Here’s an update from warden Karen:
The rafts are a great way of increasing wetland features on lakes and ponds quickly – creating a great habitat for birds, fish, invertebrates, amphibians or even small mammals. Creating fish refuge is really important, obviously for the fish themselves, but also as lots of fish means well fed bitterns!
Feeding bittern, Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
We made the four basic raft structures in our workshop, and then tied them together and put the plants/reed coir mats on them up by the lagoons.
We also made a couple of smaller “Granny Flat” rafts which we tied to the sides, and then popped on some bundles of cut reed. These should hopefully be ideal for grebes in spring.
We then attached the anchors and floated them out into the lagoon – we used the boat to tow them into position (it was hard work rowing and towing, thankfully it wasn’t a windy day or I doubt we’d have got anywhere!)
These are a prototype raft that we’re trialling – if they are successful then we’ll definitely make some more. They’re cost effective and have known to be really successful elsewhere. We’re hopefully going to pop another one into Big Hole in the next wee while which should be really easy for everyone to see from the path leading up. (Update: as from yesterday, this one is now in!)