Chopper over the Moss

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Flanders Moss NNR

There seems to be a theme at the moment but last week a helicopter flew low over the moss to carry out a deer count.

We know that we have too many deer on the moss because they are wrecking the delicate bog surface and we know that they are causing problems to the farmers’ land that surrounds the moss. But how do we find out how many deer we have? Getting an accurate number helps us assess how many deer have been causing the damage but the bog is huge and very difficult to travel across. One method we have used in the past is to do a night-time ground based count using a thermal imager that can pick up the body heat of the deer from a great distance. But not all parts of the moss are accessible for this kit so it was decided to try out counting using the thermal imager from a helicopter. The chopper started from Flanders but went on to count a much bigger area. Interestingly the thermal imaging equipment still found it hard to see deer in the very thick conifer plantations around Flanders so even this method is not perfect.

Here are some photos of some of the deer counted and of Flanders from above. Can you see the deer in the next 4 photos? It just shows how difficult they are to count without specialist thermal imaging equipment.

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The moss looks fantastic from above, and though I always fancied a ride in a helicopter I didn’t get on this one and I believe with all the banking it wasn’t a comfortable ride and at least 1 person filled a paper bag.

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