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CROW (Conserve Reading on Wednesdays)
Wednesday, 13th August 2008
Moor Copse Nature Reserve ~ Clearing hedge to encourage barn owls

For its first visit to BBOWT's Moor Copse Reserve located between Tidmarsh and Theale, CROW choose a rather dismal day in what was proving to be a rather dismal summer. The task for the day was to open a gap in the hedge between an area of rough pasture and the adjacent cornfields to encourage use of the pasture by barn owls. The surrounding high hedges and woodland were discouraging the owls from accessing the pasture although it should have provided anexcellent hunting ground for quarry such as field mice and voles.

CROW volunteers for the day were Elizabeth, John, Kayleigh, Lawrence, Mike, Phil, Rinchen and Alan.

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)

A wall of greenery separated the pasture from the cornfield.

For added interest the pasture and cornfields where also separated by a steeply banked stream approximately 2 metres in width, with the hedge situated at the top of the bank on the pasture side of the stream.

Here John makes a proposal (regarding the clearing of the hedge), whilst Alan contemplates on the meaning of life.

All the brash had to be lifted over the fence, which had helpfully been topped with a strand of barbed wire, into the pasture for disposal.

Coffee time and there are some signs of progress...

Once the smaller growth had been cleared, work started on felling the larger branches and trees.

By lunchtime only a few trees remained and the cornfields where clearly visible.

A rope just visible here, was used to control the fall of branches to prevent damage to the fence and not as some may be tempted to think, for swinging in a Tarzan like fashion across the stream.

Job done!

One more photo. All that is needed to complete the picture is a barn owl.