Night falls on Flanders

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Flanders Moss NNR

Deer are a big issue around Flanders. There are far too many and they are damaging the moss badly and the neighbouring farmers’ crops. Work is intensifying to bring down the numbers and we have to find out if it has been successful. So at least once a year we do a night time count, when the deer are more active, using thermal imaging equipment to pick out the animals in the dark.

Last week we headed out just as the sun dropped below the horizon giving a spectacular light show as it went. We started on the viewing tower: after all, it gives such a good panoramic view across the moss. And then we headed out in the truck to systematically work our way round the moss getting to a succession of viewpoints to try to scan as much of the moss and fields as possible. It is slow and cold work with 1 driver (me), 3 people on the viewing equipment leaning out of windows and 1 person plotting locations and totals of sightings. But it is always interesting getting a different view of a site you know so well.  A different shift of residents were out with hares, snipe, foxes, roe deer, tawny owls and a barn owl all busy as well as the red deer.

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The view of Flanders from the tower through the thermal imaging equipment.

As for the results, the totals aren’t in yet but the impression was that there are still plenty of deer out there but they are in  smaller, more scattered groups. We will keep you posted when we know more.

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