Wet Grassland Management Courses In Rainy Oxfordshire

This week has been a busy one, I worked from the Banbury RSPB regional office on Monday and stayed in Oxfordshire for training the following two days. My journey South was more leisurely than usual due to the heavy marquee sides I’d offered to return weighing down my poor little hatchback. I completed a big update to ArcGIS on the laptop while at Banbury, which was my main reason for working from there – the internet speed at Coombes doesn’t allow large downloads. I had to switch from using Merlin as it just wasn’t powerful enough for the analysis we planned. It also only allows ten attributes, woefully inadequate when our data comes with up to 21.

On Tuesday I attended an introductory course on wet grassland management. I stayed overnight in Wheatley (which has a fantastic little Indian restaurant called Cinnamon), and attended the advanced wet grassland management course on Wednesday. Both days gave me some useful insights into management for waders and how wet grasslands function, with lots of other information that while not totally relevant to my internship, was still very interesting. Of course with any wetland, water management is the most important aspect, so on a wander around we looked at a few different solutions they have come up with, including a right angle bend pipe, two kinds of sluices, two reservoirs and river abstraction pump. Both courses had a morning classroom session followed by an afternoon outing to the local RSPB reserve of Otmoor. I’d never been before so it was great to get a chance, even though it rained on both days. Otmoor is very different to my reserve, and my area in general, but it was really lovely.

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