Cemex have been exceedingly busy this week.
On Wednesday evening, at about 17:05, whilst driving back with my daughter from her school, we passed the culvert. I noticed some activity around the new channel, but I mainly spotted was one of the Cemex workers in his bright orange hi-viz 'boiler-suit' dragging a small heavy object out of the Manor Farm entrance. He made it about a quarter the way across the road before having to stop and wait for a long line of cars to pass. He looked like a stranded orange teddy bear.
The next day on our way into school, we crossed the culvert bridge at about 7:35 am. I glanced to my right and noticed a digger already at work on the new channel. These boys are expending a lot of effort into restoring the site.
The main highlights this week are that the conveyor mechanism is gone from Fleet Hill farm, and almost all the machinery and conveyor mechanism removed from Manor farm. In some ways it was kind of sad seeing them go, as I have been photographing them for months. Still, without their removal the reserve would not be a reserve.
Cemex have continued to landscape around the new channel, spreading top soil along its banks as well as the surrounds. I almost had a 'You've been framed' moment as I edged to the bottom of the channel prior to jumping over the water; I sank about six inches into the loose earth.
The pump has been switched on. No doubts to deal with the large amounts of rain we have been receiving.
I've also included some shots of the wildlife. There was a huge flock of Lapwings flying around Cormorant lake. As I tend to zoom in for close action shots I only managed to get about a third of the flock in frame at any one time. We also spotted a Stone Chat, a bevy of Chaffinches, a White Egret, a large Buzzard labouring into the air, three swans around swan lake, various corvids and gulls, a hobby (lots of dragonfly), a Kestrel, Great Crested Grebe, a Little Grebe (I think), the usual mass of common species (e.g. Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Robins, Wrens, Dunnocks, Jays, Magpies, Herons, Canada Geese, Widgeon, Kites, etc, etc), plus a distressingly large number of species I cannot yet identify.
The photos below are of Manor Farm showing restoration work around the pump station and the culvert/entrance to this part of the works.
Fleet Hill Farm. The photos below show the extensive landscaping around the channel and entrance to the reserve. It is really beginning to look nice now, especially with all the top soil. Whoever is operating the digger is doing so with a very deft and skilled hand.
Some wildlife photos.
As I've said before, the birds seem very wary of people. I think it is because they see so few people on the works/reserve. Normally Mallards will come trundling up to humans, hoping for a hand out. Not on this reserve they don't. They take flight if you get too close - like within 50 metres. I am used to Mallards practically biting my ankles in their demands for food. Swans gliding over en masse and either begging or mugging you for food in a regal and stately manner. I am not used to them legging it when I so much as look at them from a distance.
Lapwings in particular a exceedingly wary.
The Stone Chat I spotted initially led me a merry chase. It refused to stay still. After about 5 minutes it seemed to get used to us, and didn't flit off.
As for the White Egret. Getting within about 150 metres was too close for it. My photos have been taken at maximum zoom and quickly. This bird did not want to know. Definitely camera shy.
However, wearing a red rugby shirt probably doesn't help my cause. I shall have to invest in a green top to go with my green walking trousers.
Insect life is also very rich around the area. They tend to get forgotten, over shadowed by birds, but without them they'd be no birds. I may post some photos of some at a later date.
What a difference a little bit of sunlight makes.
Cemex do not appear to have done a massive amount around the new channel at the culvert since Wednesday. The dumper truck has been rescued from its embarrassing encounter with a ditch - though the ditch does appear to be the course of the Colebrook. A little amount of landscaping has been done, and top soil has been spread about the site.
The pump at the pump station has been switched off. Although this has thwarted my aim to photograph the out flow into the Blackwater river, it has confirmed my suspicions about where the out flow was located.
Yes, a mid week special. I was on the school run, and as we crossed the culvert bridge I glanced to my left to see if anything obvious had changed on the Fleet Hill Farm part of the reserve i.e. like the removal of the conveyor machinery.
Well, I spotted far more than that. A fairly major change in that Cemex had cut a channel to the culvert.
I came back at 7.00pm, with my trusty bridge camera, to find that Cemex had been exceedingly busy. I couldn't miss the opportunity, so nipped over the gate into the area around the culvert.
It was getting quite dark by this time. Not only was the sun setting, a nasty black cloud was making its way toward me.
By the time I took the last dozen or so photographs, it was very gloomy. My camera did something it had never done before. It informed that it was going to take a nighttime shot, and was going to take multiple pictures and combine them all into one.
I did my best to hold the camera as steady as possible (I didn't bring my tripod or monopod), as it proceeded to take about half a dozen photos. I really expected the resulting photo of combined shots to be fuzzy, and so was quite amazed when they weren't. No idea how the camera did it, but no way did I hold it dead steady.
The sharp eyed among you might notice that the 15th September is a Friday. Not our usual weekend day for a walk around the Cemex works. I had a day's leave from work, and decided to take off around the reserve after lunch.
There does not appear to be any logic to how Cemex are tackling the restoration. They seem to flit from area to area. It's almost as if they get bored with doing one bit, and decide to do another bit. I'm sure there is a plan. However, from my decades of experience in the IT industry, the ability to organise a booze up in a pub is beyond the majority of most projects managers. Worse if the dreaded 'Stakeholders' and/or business analysts get involved.
It's also quite difficult to figure out what to photograph as I don't know what Cemex are going to change next. In a similar vein, most weeks it is difficult to figure out if Cemex have done anything. One example is the soil they are bringing into the reserve. That's a significant operation, but could be hidden from us by trees and scrub.
Anyway, in their eternal wanderings, Cemex have worked primarily on the area North of Stone Crusher lake this last week. It is quite fascinating that the pond in this area has been there, just wasn't really visible from the culvert bridge. They have cleared and leveled a huge area.
The draining of Cormorant Lake continues. I have a close up of the pump. It takes water out of Cormorant lake, and sends it over the works bridge for filtering. Cemex are not allowed to simply flush the water into the Blackwater river. As the water recedes a lot of industrial rubbish begins to appear in Cormorant lake.
There has been a minor amount of work around Stone crusher point - well the culvert at least.
On the 9th September I decided that a blog would be the best way to convey the changes that Cemex have made to their works as they wind down extraction.
Thus, I started creating this blog on the 10th September, as Hurricane Irma trundled into Florida after laying bare much of the Caribbean. It took a bit of time to back fill the posts.
There was no walking around the proposed new reserve this Sunday (10th Sept) as we were clearing Willow, Birch and Oak from the Moor Green Lakes part of the reserve. We had a good turn out, and a mighty amount of shore line was cleared. My daughter, pyrotechnic that she is, spent a happy couple or three hours helping with the bonfire, first by getting it started and then by feeding it. She must have shifted about a ton of branches and dumped them on the fire.
Highlights for this week.
Manor Farm: The pump keeps pumping.
This Saturday morning there was a bulldozer leveling off the piles of soil from the conveyor foundation removal.
Fleet Hill Farm: Further bushes and trees removed from behind where stone crusher once stood.
Evidence of much movement of machinery along the shores of stone crusher lake.
New bridle path nearing completion.
Hills of ballast reduced to complete various paths.
After a week's holiday of hiking up and down the hills of Brigsteer, Sawrey, Arnside and Silverdale, plus spending an all too short time at the start and end of one walk at the glorious RSPB Leighton Moss reserve, we returned to find that Cemex had been rather busy with both Fleet Hill farm and Manor Farm.
Highlights: Work begins on constructing new bridle path through Fleet Hill farm reserve. Pretty much like the one that runs through the middle of Leighton Moss. We noticed that horse riders are already using this new bridleway.
The pump at Pump Station appears to have been turned on this week. The water levels are now very high. For whatever reason, Cemex need to pump out the water.
A minor amount of clean up around Stone Crusher point.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.