Over the years my work with the farmers of North Kent has expanded from survey work to management advice to designing wetland restoration schemes. This is great, as the challenge keeps me interested but you have to know when you need to call in the experts.
That is why I was delighted when Mark Smart, Senior Project Manager for the RSPB, took the time to visit some of the sites I am working on and help me understand how best to improve them for wetland wildlife.
Mark comes with a wealth of knowledge from his work in the Norfolk Broads and together we looked at sites from Grain to Faversham. It was a relief to see Mark scratching his head and puzzling over the right way forward as it helped me to feel that my own confusion was justified. All in all we spent 9 hours driving around fields and I came away with a much clearer knowledge of water management in a variety of situations.
By mid month, having finally delivered my report on Luddenham Marshes to the Lower Medway Internal Drainage Board, all attention could turn to working with farmers to make the most of the RSPB’s Green Recovery Fund.
Will Toft of the RSPB and I met farmer Mr Stone and spent a useful morning touring the land and thrashing out the details of pipes, sluices and reservoirs, all of which will be used to store and move water across the marshes and encourage more lapwing to breed in these fields in the future.
The month finished with a return visit to the Swanscombe Peninsula in order to write an article for the Guardian newspaper about the wildlife and history of the area. Despite the bleak weather the place was lit up with spangles of golden birch leaves and the reedbeds were buzzing with water rail and bearded tits.
Hopefully my article will go some way to raise awareness of this place’s value as a nature reserve and vulnerability to pointless plans for London Resorts to turn it into a theme park.