Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A sprinkling of snow

Well, there maybe wasn't even a sprinkling of snow, but there was definitely a bit of snow that fell today! After wrapping up warm this morning, I headed out to Bakers to turn on the water at the abstraction point - there are 7 water abstraction points over the fen, and each one has a separate license to say how much water we are allocated to extract. Mainly this is abstracted during the winter months, up until March, although there is a daily allowance for livestock (though often this isn't needed as the ditches on Wicken Fen provide enough water year-round). The abstraction point onto Bakers links to Monk's Lode, taking water directly from there and pumping through, helping keep wetland ecosystems going on the fen!

I then checked on the collared animals, so the 2 horses and the 2 cows. All 4 seem to be doing absolutely fine with them and so far, there hasn't been any sign at all that it's bothering any of them. The data software hasn't completely been set up yet, but when it is, the positions of all the collared animals can hopefully be linked to google maps or some other map, so we can clearly see where the radio-collared animals (and their herds) are. I think the collars send signals every hour, so it's a pretty frequent location that we will be able to observe. When I was with the breeding konik herd, I managed to get a picture of most of the foals from the main harem - they're so cute!

Later on I headed out to Harrisons to check on the bulls and also to do another data collection session (though not much happened today...). At the end of last week, Edmund got into another fight and I found him on Friday with quite a few new cuts on his flank and between his legs. I'm not sure who he had been fighting as none of the other bulls seemed to be injured at all, so I think whoever he was fighting, Edmund came off worse than them. His cuts are healing well though and he isn't limping - just keeping a bit of distance from the rest of the herd. For the past couple of days, he's been found near Ewan, who used to be the dominant bull, so it is possible that the hierarchy is changing again and Edmund is gradually being pushed to the edge of the group. It's difficult to tell for sure at the moment though. As I said, in my data collection session didn't really witness much aggressive behaviour, though yesterday I did a session and lots went on which was great! Two of the bulls got into a small fight, and it was interesting to see the behaviours that preceded it. It was a bit of a rush writing all the behaviours down when everyone kicked off at once, but I think over time I'll get more used to it and it'll be easier.

Thanks for reading!

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