Friday, 3 August 2012

Brushcutter course

This is a brushcutter, kind of industrial scale strimmer, and the RSPB have very kindly just sent me on a 2-day course, brushcutters for the use and maintenance of.  We use brushcutters at Fowlmere nature reserve mostly for cutting reeds, but also for clearing grass and other herbage back from the paths.  There are two people qualified to operate the brushcutters, but they're not always there, so having a third means we're better able to keep up.  At this time of year, just when volunteers are going on holiday, the herbage encroaches pretty rapidly!

You might think that two days at an RSPB reserve in Kent, learning how to use something as simple as this is excessive, but in fact, I realised by the end that there wasn't much time wasted. 

It's not just that the rigid, three-pointed blade spins with a tip velocity of 300mph and could easily cut through somebody's leg if they got in the way, but there's also quite a bit of maintenance which can be easily done if you know how.  Some decades ago I had an ancient petrol lawn mower, and really struggled to get the starter rope properly installed so I could actually spin the motor up.  Turns out to be really simple if you know how, natch!

So we started with several tedious hours of elf and safety, of course (how else would I know the blade tip velocity?), then spent quite a few hours actually practising, and finally, yesterday afternoon, had our assessments.  I'm relieved to say I passed.  I'd have been pretty cross if I'd failed, of course.

In some of the pauses, I managed to see a great spotted woodpecker, lots of green woodpeckers, quite a few goldfinches, a handful of avocets, a female tufted duck with half a dozen chicks, a marsh harrier and a little owl.  Considering I wasn't actually there to watch birds, I thought that was not bad.

It was nice to come home, though.

1 comment:

ArcticFox said...

looks like a serious piece of kit and am glad you've passed the test.... also your twitch tally is truly impressive for an "out of the corner of your eye" experience..... well done!