It is 8:15 on Saturday morning. Normally I'd still be stomping around Manor farm, with a view to heading home. This morning, however, I elected not to pop down for my regular early morning exercise; instead having a few extra moments of kip before getting up on a bright, if somewhat windy and cold morning.
My usual Wednesday jaunt revealed a silent Manor farm but for two diggers. I spotted them having a conflab near the pump station, before they took off and trundled south to Chandlers farm. As best I can make out, they flattened the long bank of spoil they created when they dug out the drainage channel some weeks back.
I could not see any evidence of any other work being carried out on Manor farm this past week. Even the piles of spoil which were around the parked bulldozer, which I photographed last Saturday, had not been pushed into Cormorant lake. It was a scene reminiscent of the Marie Celeste i.e. everything suddenly abandoned.
There appeared to be muted activity on the west side of Chandlers farm. Inert appeared to be continuing to operate on the crater (i.e. former lake) near the sports ground. I can't see the east side of Chandlers farm (i.e. by the works buildings) from the south footpath, so can only gauge what is going on by how much noise is being generated. I admit I am not too interested in what happens on Chandlers farm as most of it is being turned into sports amenities.
So as not to waste a trip on Saturday, I took the opportunity to visit Manor farm on Friday morning. Though I have to add that it was reasonably sunny with almost no wind, which would give me good conditions to photograph wildlife.
There was no activity of any sort on either Manor farm or the west side of Chandlers farm. An extraordinary sight, as even at its quietest I would expect to see the odd bulldozer, digger or lorry lurking around. A cacophony of noise pointed to much activity on the east side of Chandlers farm, by the works buildings. Indeed I spotted a bulldozer reversing west, to just be spied from the Bailey bridge, before pushing forward east with soil.
These works buildings are scheduled to be demolished (allegedly by the end of this year), and an extra 50,000 tonnes of gravel extracted shortly after; before the whole area is restored, allegedly by the middle of next year. I suspect this schedule will slip by a year.
I have seen Inert operate in this manner, over the past year and a bit. They flit about the site, with what appears to be no coherent plan, working on a bit, abandoning it, and then returning some time later. I'm sure there is a plan somewhere. :-) :-) :-)
Back to my obsession: the pump. It appeared to be working on Wednesday, in that there was a reasonable flow from their drainage channels into the Blackwater. Only I couldn't tell if this was due to the pump or simply run off from the deluge we had. By my Friday visit, the drainage channels were dry, and the pump was definitely silent.
You may, dear reader, have correctly surmised that I took a wander onto Manor farm on Friday morning. I never do this, normally, as it is dangerous with all the heavy plant trundling around. However, I decided it was safe due to it being obvious that all activity was concentrated around the works buildings. Plus, I could return to the MGLG car park via various paths (made by animals) I know along Manor lake and the grasslands, should a vehicle appear on Manor farm.
Wildlife was a little thin on the ground on Manor farm. Not that I stayed long enough to get a really good assessment. My concern is more photography, especially flying. So unless it is floating, flying or flitting about in plain sight, I tend not to see it. I hear them more than I see them.
I did spot some Snipe on their usual haunt round Manor lake; flying off at speed before dipping back into reeds or sedge. While a couple of Buzzards soared above Chandlers farm next to the Blackwater.
MGLG around Colebrook lake was a mixed bag. Colebrook lake (north) was a hive of activity, not least due to the gulls and tern. Colebrook lake (south) was much, much quieter. Most all of the birds that usually bob about this part of Colebrook lake have flown off to their breeding ground. Still, the bright conditions on Friday morning did lend itself to a couple of good shots, even if most of the flying birds did not cooperate i.e. disappearing behind branches, flying off before I'd even got the lens cover off, etc.
A couple of photos then. The Great Crested Grebes do tend to freak me out a little. They have red eyes. I also feel that people do not realise how colourful or exotic looking our birds can be. Check out the iridescent plumage and head gear on the Lapwings. The Great Crested Grebe was photographed on Colebrook lake (south) while the Lapwing were on Colebrook lake (north).
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.