As a new member of any habitats team you are always thrown in the deep end, but as the new Trainee Reserve Officers (TROs) here at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, we literally were – for the first few weeks of September, we were either waist-deep in lagoons or losing wellies in knee-high mud fields.
Although this sounds like some sort of initiation ceremony, this is just the annual autumn, island cutting in preparation for the winter migratory visitors. We ventured out to the islands on the lagoons and cut the vegetation down with various tools and a dedicated team of wader warriors - This is necessary to stop vegetation succession before it progresses to a scrub or woody phase. It also creates the ideal flat, open habitat for many wildfowl species.
During the weeks of island cutting, we learned to use a BCS (power scythe), brush cutter, and most importantly, how to wade through mud without getting stuck! We both knew that this year wasn’t going to be boring!