As usual, dear reader, I popped down to the Manor farm workings on Thursday to see what was up. I tend to go at a quiet time, when some of the workers are having their lunch. This is not planned by me, it simply works out this way.
Inert and contract hauliers were back on Manor farm making great progress with in filling Finch pond. This time I noticed they worked on the north and south sides of the pond, with the bulldozer shuttling between the two. I am not sure how the lorry drivers decide where to drop their loads, but they are not hesitant. They trundle up, reverse, drop the soil, then trundle back for another load.
Some drop their loads for the boulder sorter outer, but I figure this is easier to decide upon.
I was also intrigued by all the trackways put down to guide the lorry drivers. Mostly marked with raised banks of soil, I have noticed the use of big boulders, and now traffic cones.
Again the assortment of different haulage companies involved was noticeable. Underpinned by John Stacey, it looks like Cemex are hiring whomever they can whenever the lorries come available.
This week I noticed that the main trackway used by the lorries had been damped down. Not surprising considering the amount of dust kicked up. As I was making my way back to my car I noticed the vehicle responsible. A tractor with water tank came trundling down the trackway. It turned and reversed down to the shore of Finch pond, where it filled up with water. Sensible.
Moving on to Fleet Hill farm, I noticed that work continued throughout the week on this part of the new reserve. The remainder of the trees were planted out, as well as the reeds. The latter were dotted about the numerous ponds on this part of the reserve, all protected by chicken wire fencing. No doubts to keep the numerous rabbits and deer from feasting on them
I was quite surprised how few reeds were planted. OK, in reality I reckon a couple of hundred or more plugs in all, but I thought it would be much more extensive. Still whomever planned all this knows far more than I.
My biggest luck was in photographing a Weasel, even more so I feel as I keep to the tracks. I was quite astonished how small they are. I think it happened upon a dead Water Vole. As is the case, I heard a rustling and quick flash of movement in the grass, then thought nothing more figuring the creature had dashed off. However, the rustling continued and then I spied the Weasel near the edge of the track about 6' (2 metres) from me.
I suspect it had detected the dead vole and was checking it and me out cautiously. Eventually it decided the vole was worth eating and that I wasn't a threat, so grabbed the vole. Strangely it didn't take off immediately, but checked me out again, thus allowing me to take a photo of it complete with its food.
Before the slide shows, a quick visualisation of what Inert are doing to Finch pond, and possibly Cormorant lake. Bear in mind that plans can change, but the left image is taken from what is supposed to be the most up to date outcome for the west area of Manor farm. Though I have my suspicions about the accuracy of the outcome of Cormorant lake.
The image on the right is from Google Earth as of last year. The blue hatched area is my best estimate of the progress Inert have made in filling in Finch pond. As you can see they have a fair ways to go, but I reckon they can easily finish it this year.
The slide shows kick off with Fleet Hill farm. I must remind you, dear reader, that I do have permission to be on the site. Even so I am keeping to tracks, well away from possible breeding birds.
It was pure heaven not walking on muddy, squelchy soil or in freezing, wet weather. It is amazing how quickly the soil dries out. I am quite intrigued by the tree plantings as their positions screen most of the reserve from both the bridle path and existing footpath. Bit of a shame, I feel, even with the viewing points.
As I get to know the lakes better over the next few months I may begin to give them unofficial names. I might call one of them Lapwing pond - as Lapwings are most evident on it. They are always flying around this lake, defending their territories from other birds.
A Roe (?) deer kept a wary eye on me from the shore of Lapwing pond. It never moved from its spot all the time I was there - mostly photographing the Weasel. It might have been guarding a fawn. I kept my distance, trying to look as least threatening as possible.
Now on to the Manor farm part of the future new reserve. Some photos were taken on Thursday on my bridge camera. It does so well in good strong sunlight; deep joy. I made a short foray into the site on Saturday, but kept close to the Longwater road entrance. Again, I must stress that I have permission to be on the site, but even so I am currently keeping to tracks and well away from Cormorant lake and the grasslands.
Finally, a couple of images of a Hoverfly. What attracted me to this insect was the noise it made as it flew. It made a loud, reasonably high pitched buzzing noise as it flitted about my back garden; not the usual hum of a bee or wasp. I knew it wasn't a bee. Instead I thought it was some sort of fly - as in blue bottle type fly. After photographing it and then hunting on t'internet I discover it is one of the 200+ species of Hoverfly we have in this country! I never knew we had that many species.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.