After a considerable hiatus, no doubt caused by the inclement weather of late and the resulting high water levels in the lakes (plus a knackered pump), Inert are back with a vengeance.
When I set off for the reserve this morning I felt distinctly underdressed. No thermals. No base and multiple mid layers. No Thinsulate hat, gloves or snood. No heavy weather proof coat. To add to my bemused feeling - it was sunny and bright! Yes a strange yellow disk in the sky made an appearance.
I couldn't get away from my nemesis - mud the consistency of quicksand. Though most of the tracks were now quite dry and hard, I decided to take a shot cut at one point and strike off across some 'dry' mudflats. Only they hadn't had time to dry out properly. So your mad blogger sand up to his knees in the stuff again. This time, dear reader, I was aware of what was going on, and didn't get stuck in the stuff by dint of not stopping. Momentum and brute strength carried me through the quicksand mud.
The gates at the works bridge were still firmly closed. I now suspect this is to keep people off the site. Inert are back with bulldozer, digger and the boulder sorter outer. They have concentrated on the south shore of Finch pond and the area around the copse where our erstwhile Yellow bridge used to stand. It has been ignominiously pushed aside.
Much work has ensued over this past week with soil being bulldozed into Finch pond to extend its south shore ever northwards. A 'mascot' was discovered during excavations. You'll see it in the slide show. :-) The boulder sorter outer was on the 'Land Mass' possibly to sieve out the rocks from the road way that lead to the Yellow bridge.
I didn't go up to the works bridge to find out if anything has happened on the Hampshire side of the reserve. I was in a bit of a hurry, plus it was obvious Inert were working on the Manor Farm part of the reserve. How long is any one's guess as they tend to flit about the site from week to week. In their defence, I think they were prevented from working fully on Manor farm due to the awful weather and high water levels.
You will notice a considerable change in the photos this week. The trees have greened up. Also the grasses and nettles have put on a staggering amount of growth. This is one of those years where you will miss spring if yo blink. I can only remember the 'spring' of 2013 being worse; when January/February temperatures finally came to an end in mid May.
A note about the slide show. I have included a couple of photos from last weekend when it was somewhat misty and still a little on the cool side.
There was a considerable amount of bird life around - sadly most of it audible; particularly the Skylarks. Some of the usual suspects made an appearance: the two Shelduck which have taken up residence in Finch pond; four squadrons of Tufted duck (two in each of Finch pond and Cormorant lake); Mute swan; Canada goose (yep, singular - only one today); three Egyptian geese; only one Lapwing (who set off for Fleet Hill farm); Gulls and Terns galore screaming at me from Manor lake; Mallards; Wood Pigeons; Carrion Crows; and a few others I could not recognise - intentionally or unintentionally.
The highlight was spotting five Ringed Plovers. There appear to be two pairs and a single. Though the single may have had a mate somewhere. They weren't too bothered by my appearance (in fact one pair decided to set about the process of making babies), though in keeping with most all the birds on the reserve they kept a healthy amount of distance between them and me.
I managed quite a few shots with my bridge camera. Some are a little blurry as I went into digital zoom (this give a 'magnification' of 120x), plus I was balanced on a ridge of soil and wasn't using a tripod. I got quite good at holding my breath whilst taking the shot
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.