I did not expect much to have happened this past week. Indeed it took some time for my little brain cell to register, partly as I didn't have my usual recce along the south footpath before stomping back along the south shores of Cormorant lake and Finch pond.
I came in via the Longwater road entrance, firstly having to negotiate a bit of fly tipping. Some cretins had decided to dump numerous bags of tree leaves and a bit of trellis; stuff that a rubbish tip would gladly take and turn into compost.
Anyway, I noticed that water levels in Finch pond and Cormorant lake had dropped considerably. So much so, as I walked along the north embankment and ridge I contemplated traipsing down to the gravel spit and cross over the channel between Cormorant lakes north and south. Glad I didn't. The water levels weren't quite low enough.
The reason for the dramatic drop in water levels was that the shiny new pump was back in operation. It was all hooked up and chugging away. It appeared much quieter than the previous pump. The pumping over the past week has led to the return of Cormorant island. It is still quite small, but big enough for birds to use, and fight over.
As I feared, dear reader, it is the beginning of the end for the Yellow bridge. Inert have been hard at work removing the earth/ballast banking built up against the bridge to form the vehicle road way. It took me a bit of time to twig what had happened as I made my way toward it. I could see the blue Inert tank and thought nothing of it. Until I realised I should not be able to see it from east of the bridge, as it should have hidden by an earth bank.
I took a new route today, coming around Hawthorn lake and along the east shore of Cormorant lake. I wanted to photograph the curved pipe which the gulls like standing on. The whole area is quite boggy - intentionally so, and I think I spooked quite a few Snipe.
Rather distressingly I found a lot of rubbish strewn along the former water line, caught up on top of the sedge. Water levels were so high the junk got washed above the sedge, only to be caught in the sedge as levels dropped.
The highlight of my morning was to photograph an Oyster catcher. Only I thought it was a Lapwing, due to having photographed two earlier in the walk. It was when I got home and dumped the photographs onto my laptop that I found out it was an Oyster Catcher. Serious birders my roll their eyes up, but I do get excited seeing birds like Lapwings, Oyster Catchers, etc.
I have split the slideshows into two sections today. They are not as heavy on the images as the past couple of weeks. The first covers Cemex/Inert's continuing restoration efforts. The second covers wildlife I spied on my stomp.
Light conditions were pretty poor this morning. Static photos weren't too bad. Action shots were challenging. I suppose I could up the ISO on my DSLR, but that tends to introduce more noise. It's pretty old technology, being a Canon Rebel XTi.
I have noticed that the crows on Manor farm appear to be particularly belligerent. I have seen them mobbing other birds, including the poor little resident Kestrel. Today I caught photographic evidence. Some Herring gulls (juveniles I think) landed close to a couple of crows on Cormorant island. One crow was having none of it and attacked the gulls, seeing them off.
I am now 99% convinced there are Skylarks on the Manor Farm grasslands between Hawthorn lake and Cormorant lake/Manor lake. I have heard them, but sometimes they do sound like Reed buntings, but today I think I spooked three in the grass. They were roughly the correct size and shape and made the correct noise. The clincher for me was when they settled down they landed on the ground in the grassy tussocks. I can't see Reed buntings doing that by choice.
Unfortunately both cameras were having trouble picking the small birds out against the grey clouds when I tried to photograph them in the air. I am determined to get a photograph. They are seriously endangered, and it would be great if there were a breeding pair or three on the reserve.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.