As expected, restoration efforts have been put on hold over the Christmas period; and so it should. People need time off, especially over Christmas. It's only the second time in twelve years that I've had the days between Boxing Day and New Year's eve off.
This week's update is a little odd. Some of the photos are from Thursday 28th Dec. We have had lots of heavy rain recently; whilst areas north of us have had a torrid time of it with snow. More rain is predicted for the New Year's weekend. The water levels in the Blackwater river can rise dramatically (2' / 60cm or more) after torrential rain. Therefore I felt it prudent to retrieve my trail camera, as I had placed it closer to the water than last time.
As well I did. The water levels in the Blackwater river had risen over a foot (30cm) and had reached the base of the fallen tree I had rigged my trail cam on. Water levels in all the lakes on both Fleet hill and Manor farms have also risen considerably. Cormorant island has disappeared, and the channel between Finch pond and Cormorant lake is now flooding bits of the land mass. I will pop down to the reserve sometime today to see if water levels have risen even more since Thursday due to the heavy rain we've had since then.
My trail cam did pick up that mink. They are very fast, and move a fair distance before my cheapo trail cam fires. Still, it caught the blighter twice, plus a whole load of other wildlife: a fox, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Chaffinch, Moorhen, various unidentified nocturnal rodents, and what appears to be the mink swimming up the Blackwater river. I also found what appears to be mink spraint i.e. poop. It's old, so didn't pong, but appears to have fur in it and is roughly the right shape for a mink.
I wont be putting the trail cam out this week due to the river levels being so high. This results in the fallen tree being submerged. Even if not completely submerged the high water levels prevent animals from getting onto the tree trunk. I certainly do not want to leap five feet (1.5m) with a standing start from bank to tree and back again, with nothing to grab onto and three feet (90cm) of water to fall into.
Finally, we have central heating and hot water! The boiler man arrived on Wednesday afternoon, diagnosed and fixed the boiler in 15 minutes (it was a solenoid). He was disgusted that we had been left without heating or hot water for seven days, over the Christmas period. He couldn't understand what the call centre was playing at, booking an engineer in so late. To cap it all they charged us £50 excess for the privilege of not fixing our boiler for a week, even though we are on Homecare!
It appears he had 28 engineers working over the entire week from Wed 20th to when he came out. They were busy, but not so busy that they could not have got to us Thursday 21st at the earliest and Friday 22nd at the very latest. In fact had we rang on Boxing Day morning he could have got someone to us by the afternoon.
Needless to say, a strongly worded complaint has been lodged.
Thing is, we both remember when British Gas was state owned. Weekend working just didn't happen, apart from emergencies, whilst the whole country shutdown for the Christmas period. So we thought the engineers could only get to us on Thursday or Friday, and the reason they couldn't was that there were far more needy people than us. Turns out this was not the case.
Here are the photos from the 28th Dec 2017
We popped along to the reserve round about 11:00 am on Saturday 30th Dec. My partner went mammal hunting along the Blackwater when I disappeared for a muddy trudge around the Manor Farm section of the reserve. It was very very muddy, with a couple of kilos easily sticking to my wellies. In some sections the bulldozer had really cut into the ground, both with its blade or caterpillar tracks. Filled with water from all the rain, some were deeper than my wellies were high. I took advantage of this deep water to wash the considerable amount of mud sticking to my wellies.
Water levels in the Blackwater were up a foot (30cm) from yesterday, while the out flow from Moor Green lakes into Manor lake was higher by about 4" (10cm) or so. With more rain predicted for tonight and early tomorrow morning, I would expect levels to be even higher. The fallen tree on which I rig my trail cam will be submerged today.
I suspect that the water levels of the lakes and ponds on Manor Farm are getting back to what they should be, now that Cemex have stopped pumping. Looking back at my blog, I notice that Cormorant island reappeared on the 2nd Dec entry after Cemex turned the pump back on.
There isn't a huge amount of commentary in the slideshow. Just simply compare water levels in this set of photos to those taken earlier on in the year.
Oh, finally; it's early days but I might, just might, have got rid of that annoying hair in the top right hand corner of the photos. I think it is a piece of fine fiber or cat hair that lay across the cmos chip. I couldn't see anything on the Tamron lens - plus I had cleaned it so much any light reflected off it could probably be seen from the Moon. Also, when I am taking a photo I cannot see the hair in the view finder. Which led me to figure it was something behind the camera mirror. In hind sight, what I should have done was stick on the Canon lens that came with the camera and see if the hair appeared in photos taken with it. Sigh.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.