There are 50 Scottish black-face and Swaledale wether lambs to check. These sheep were bred on the Northumbrian hills and were bought by Flexigraze last autumn to graze land of conservation value over last winter and summer. Their meat is eventually sold to raise funds to buy the next lot of lambs off the hills. Counting 50 sheep might seem easy but it isn’t. They are either hiding in the tall vegetation or all in a pack.
There are 22 Highland cattle and 17 calves to check in a different area which can be equally challenging to find in the tall rushes. The bull was feeling particularly amorous to a black cow today and it is becoming harder to distinguish the calves from the cows at a distance as they are growing and not sticking so close to their mothers.
The 6 Exmoor ponies are easy as they come right up to the gate. All the livestock were present and correct but fly tippers have been at work blocking one of the access gates. This will have to be removed as soon as possible.
Duncan was also working on the site with a team of Northumberland Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers on a mire restoration project. This involved the damming of an old drainage channel cut into the peat. Sally went to help, enjoying the wildlife on the way; an amazing dark dagger (Acronicta tridens) moth caterpillar, several fungi and roe deer.