No site visit this Saturday morning, for reasons you'll see, but two site visits this past week.
I do find the strategy of restoring Finch pond a little odd. The breeding season will kick off with a vengeance in approximately two months time - say three at the utmost. Cemex/Inert will then be put under immense pressure to cease all work around what I have been calling Cormorant lake.
Unless the resulting two to three month hiatus has been built into the restoration plan, I would have thought it makes sense to crack on with infilling Cormorant lake (north) as a priority, with infill/landscaping Cormorant lake (south) and Manor lake close second before the birds start breeding. Unless, of course, the plans for this part of the nascent reserve have changed, and there is a whole lot less infilling and landscaping.
Now back to our normal schedule. My site visit, last Sunday, to test my new Sigma lens, revealed the bulldozer parked by the Yellow bridge, primed ready to continue restoring Manor farm. My Wednesday morning visit revealed an empty, quiet site, devoid of bulldozer, lorries or signs of much being done on Monday or Tuesday.
A lot may have been done, but as I have commented before, one patch of muddy soil tends to look the same from week to week unless something dramatic has changed.
As I approached the works (aka Bailey) bridge, I spied some poor sod (complete with large bowser) power washing it - the air temperature was about four degrees centigrade, and it felt bitterly cold in the north easterly wind. He stopped for a brief rest, and I commented that he had a soulless job as the bridge would get muddy the instant lorries began rolling.
He then explained the reason: welding had to be checked, particularly the bridge deck plates. The bridge had been taking a bit of a pasting over the years; especially of late with the numerous lorries crossing it, heavily laden with soil and spoil.
My site visit on Friday (to take advantage of the, rare, sunny day to try out my new lens) revealed a welder hard at work on the bridge. Naturally, whilst this was going on there was no traffic allowed on the bridge, and no work took place on Manor farm - certainly since Wednesday if not Tuesday.
Chandlers farm, however, was a hive of activity.
My Friday visit also revealed a problem with the pump. I heard a strange gurgling noise whilst I was stood next to the works bridge. It came and went, quite regularly in approximately 30 second intervals. At first I thought it was some strange animal ritual.
I tracked rapidly the strange noise down to the pump. It was behaving like Old Faithful. Firstly it appeared to pump water normally, indeed there was a healthy flow of water on the outflows into the Blackwater. Then a fine spray would emerge from the inlet pipe. This fine spray rapidly turned into a coarse spray, before erupting into a fine jet of water, much like a geyser. The whole process was then repeated.
As I was walking east, back towards the MGLG car park, I noticed a man wander down to the pump, time his walk to the rear of the pump mechanism to avoid the spray, before turning off the pump. I cannot fathom what is wrong with the pump (possibly a blockage) to explain its odd behaviour.
Shame really, as water levels in Cormorant lake (south) had fallen dramatically over the past week. If the pump is out of action for weeks, it could further delay restoration.
Otherwise, restoration efforts appear concentrated on the south/south west shore of Finch pond. land levels appear, once again, to be being built up. I wonder if this will follow the normal pattern, and the whole lot will be scoured out again.
I 'might' possibly take a wander over Manor farm on Sunday (tomorrow) prior to attending the Moor Green Lakes work party, where we shall be hedge laying on the footpath between the car park and the Blackwater.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.