On Wednesday evening, at about 17:05, whilst driving back with my daughter from her school, we passed the culvert. I noticed some activity around the new channel, but I mainly spotted was one of the Cemex workers in his bright orange hi-viz 'boiler-suit' dragging a small heavy object out of the Manor Farm entrance. He made it about a quarter the way across the road before having to stop and wait for a long line of cars to pass. He looked like a stranded orange teddy bear.
The next day on our way into school, we crossed the culvert bridge at about 7:35 am. I glanced to my right and noticed a digger already at work on the new channel. These boys are expending a lot of effort into restoring the site.
The main highlights this week are that the conveyor mechanism is gone from Fleet Hill farm, and almost all the machinery and conveyor mechanism removed from Manor farm. In some ways it was kind of sad seeing them go, as I have been photographing them for months. Still, without their removal the reserve would not be a reserve.
Cemex have continued to landscape around the new channel, spreading top soil along its banks as well as the surrounds. I almost had a 'You've been framed' moment as I edged to the bottom of the channel prior to jumping over the water; I sank about six inches into the loose earth.
The pump has been switched on. No doubts to deal with the large amounts of rain we have been receiving.
I've also included some shots of the wildlife. There was a huge flock of Lapwings flying around Cormorant lake. As I tend to zoom in for close action shots I only managed to get about a third of the flock in frame at any one time. We also spotted a Stone Chat, a bevy of Chaffinches, a White Egret, a large Buzzard labouring into the air, three swans around swan lake, various corvids and gulls, a hobby (lots of dragonfly), a Kestrel, Great Crested Grebe, a Little Grebe (I think), the usual mass of common species (e.g. Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Robins, Wrens, Dunnocks, Jays, Magpies, Herons, Canada Geese, Widgeon, Kites, etc, etc), plus a distressingly large number of species I cannot yet identify.
The photos below are of Manor Farm showing restoration work around the pump station and the culvert/entrance to this part of the works.
Fleet Hill Farm. The photos below show the extensive landscaping around the channel and entrance to the reserve. It is really beginning to look nice now, especially with all the top soil. Whoever is operating the digger is doing so with a very deft and skilled hand.
As I've said before, the birds seem very wary of people. I think it is because they see so few people on the works/reserve. Normally Mallards will come trundling up to humans, hoping for a hand out. Not on this reserve they don't. They take flight if you get too close - like within 50 metres. I am used to Mallards practically biting my ankles in their demands for food. Swans gliding over en masse and either begging or mugging you for food in a regal and stately manner. I am not used to them legging it when I so much as look at them from a distance.
Lapwings in particular a exceedingly wary.
The Stone Chat I spotted initially led me a merry chase. It refused to stay still. After about 5 minutes it seemed to get used to us, and didn't flit off.
As for the White Egret. Getting within about 150 metres was too close for it. My photos have been taken at maximum zoom and quickly. This bird did not want to know. Definitely camera shy.
However, wearing a red rugby shirt probably doesn't help my cause. I shall have to invest in a green top to go with my green walking trousers.
Insect life is also very rich around the area. They tend to get forgotten, over shadowed by birds, but without them they'd be no birds. I may post some photos of some at a later date.