When I visited Manor farm on Wednesday, I noticed that a long pile of soil heaps stretching roughly halfway up the east shore of Cormorant lake south. I did wonder, at the time, could have got access to this part of the reserve. For one, they would have to cross a drainage ditch between Cormorant lake (south) and Manor lake (south).
My Saturday visit showed that the line of soil heaps extended almost three quarters of the way along the east shore of Cormorant lake (south).
When I walked (very, very carefully) onto the latest infill I noticed that Inert had created a land bridge to block off the thin section of lake leading to the pump station. Ah ha, I thought, I can now walk from the south shore of Cormorant lake (south) onto the 'mud flats', and thence onto the North embankment via Hawthorn lake.
Nope. It transpires that the long line of soil heaps marks out the course of a new ditch that had been cut during the week by a digger. This sort of indicates how much infill Inert hope to achieve over the next few weeks or months; breeding season not withstanding. The upshot of this new ditch is that I still have to walk around the pump station to get the mud flats from the south shore of Cormorant lake.
No, I did not propose leaping over the ditch. Although the width of water in the ditch was about 2' (60cm) wide in places, it was at the bottom of deep steep banks, which would be full of extremely soft, gooey mud considering the colossal amount of rain we have received; on top of snow melt! The amount of surface water meant I didn't want to go round to Hawthorn lake as I know I would have to cross some deep streams to get to the north embankment.
Our stirling pump was silent again. No idea why. Perhaps the leaky pipe, lack of diesel or it's knacked again. Surprisingly, water levels are comparatively low, even though they are rising fast. This could make infill tricky. The Blackwater was running high, with all the rain and melt water. I'm not sure if its burst its banks. I didn't wander down to Moor Green Lakes. Though in hind sight, I should have popped over to Fleet Hill farm to check the flooding there.
I quickly discovered the route taken by the digger, to get to the west edge of Cormorant lake (south) when I went around the pump station. The ditch between Cormorant lake (south) and Manor lake (south) had been partially filled in. This happens quite frequently, I've noticed over the years. When you stand on the land bridge you are struck by how much lower water levels in Cormorant lake (south) are when compared to Manor lake (south); it is some 4'-6' (1.2m - 1.8m) difference - with the latter lake being much higher.
Other than a great deal of infill taking place, I haven't really noticed anything else happening on Manor farm. Chanlders farm was very busy on Wednesday.
Parts of the fencing bordering the south footpath of Manor farm have fallen down. One suspects that Cemex will fix these when the south footpath is converted into a bridlepath. Not that the footpath designation appears to have prevented at least one stupid horse rider to use this path.
We'll kick off the graphics part with my feeble attempt to show the extent of infill on Cormorant lake (south) - the orange bits - and the course of the new ditch. Though I think the ditch was extended between Wednesday and Saturday.
Now onto the galley proper. Light conditions were, as usual, quite bad. Exasperatingly so. Just as I had stomped to the main area for photography, a whole load of cloud arrived to obscure the sun. What little sunlight did get through, was feeble. A large majority of the photos have been lightened in FastStone.
This can be a quiet time of year for wildlife. Matters are probably not helped with the restoration work. However, far better it progresses quickly so that the reserve can become as such.
Last year I photographed large flotillas of Tufted duck sailing around Finch pond and Cormorant lake (south). This year their numbers are much diminished, but their place have been taken by Teal.
On Wednesday, I photographed a Herring gull on the scrape. It didn't look too well. In fact it looked dead. This morning, its deceased state was confirmed. All was not bad news. The bird's carcass attracted that scavenger the Red Kite. A couple flew around me, sometimes passing within 15 or 20 feet of me. Tragically, the light just wasn't good enough to get a really good photo.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.