Wildlife Management; managing a 'wildlife first' concervancy
Kingfishers Bridge is a 'wildlife first' conservancy, meaning that all of our resources are targeted towards benefiting wildlife and the habitats they rely upon. We are constantly evaluating common conservation practices, and our own, to maximise variety, efficiency and wildlife opportunity.
The Reed-bed is a prime example of this approach right from the time of it's creation.
At the time the reed-bed was established common practice was to plant 'plugs' (small individual plants grown in bulk and planted by hand to form a reed-bed. Kingfishers Bridge challenged this, and using current research into reed germination factors, treated the seed accordingly. The seed was then scattered on the surface of the water bodies in the bare reed-bed as would happen naturally. Despite attempted protection from wildfowl the germinated seedlings were grazed but this only resulted in further spread of the reed, within a few years the reedbed had covered the area it dos today, for a fraction of the cost of common practice. it is through asking what can be done differently in this way that we maximise potential for wildlife.
Today the reed-bed is predominantly managed through water level control and grazing, however small pockets are mown on a rotation and the cut litter cleared into mounds providing nesting sites for grass snakes and hibernacula for many invertebrates.
Small areas of reed are also cleared through controlled burning which provides different soil chemistry. Colonising plant species take advantage of these until the reed regenerates.
Continuing the concept of a wildlife first conservancy we are using pioneering approaches to bringing people closer to wildlife without the negative impact and disturbance that this usually brings. Through living hides and our ground breaking High Definition Wildlife Camera network we are showing people more unique behavior than ever before, whilst still maintaining the sanctuarial reserve that was originally conceived.