It's been rather chilling, this past week. Sudden Stratospheric Warming has struck again, but not as quickly as last March. Just the usual stuff for this time of year.
Our wayward pump was chugging away on Wednesday, when I stomped around Moor Green Lakes and Manor Farm. On Saturday morning, it was quite silent. Knackered or run out of diesel. Who knows. Lakes levels are beginning to creep up.
Chandlers farm was a hive of activity. It seems never ending on this part of the nascent reserve and sports ground. At least two diggers and one bulldozer were doing their stuff; which largely appears to be building up huge piles of spoil, digging them out, only to build them up again.
On to Manor farm. Work has resumed on the infill of Cormorant lake (south) and thence, presumably, landscaping it with Manor lake (south). A fair amount of infill has taken place over this past week, and I noticed quite a few tipper lorries and grab loaders bringing inert waste to keep our bulldozer driver busy.
Curiously, the infill curves nicely around the feature I have been calling: Cormorant island, Cormorant spit and, latterly, the scrape. When I first visited Manor farm, Cormorants appeared to be the only birds which inhabited a piece of land that was exposed in middle of a large lake sandwiched between Finch pond and Manor lake (south). I christened them Cormorant island and Cormorant lake respectively. I then discovered that Cormorant lake had a little 'lake' to the north of it; hence north and south.
When water levels dropped, Cormorant island grew a long tail which reached the south shore of Cormorant lake. Thus it became a spit, though technically it is either a causeway or sandbar. Early last year, Inert dump a whole load of gravel onto Cormorant island, forming what I thought would be a scrape. Time will tell what this whole area will look like, but a scrape is damn useful to have in any water feature created here.
Well, judging by the length of time it took to infill Finch pond, I don't think Inert will make sufficient progress with Cormorant lake before having to call a halt to works due to the breeding season. I could be proved wrong, as they have done a cracking amount this past week.
Thing is, I am not too sure I know where the protected birds were breeding last year. The scrape is a possibility, though my suspicion is the gravel spit separating Cormorant lakes north and south. There are Snipe and others on the mudflats i.e. the bit between Manor lake and Cormorant lake. I do not think those are protected.
Only time will tell, as they say.
I was quite annoyed, this morning. Light conditions were pretty bad, and a Kestrel hovered very close to me. I also got some fantastic shots of Canada geese flying towards me. I had clambered up the huge spoil heap, near the yellow bridge, but taking the more gentle sloping east face. A small flock of Canada geese came flying down the south shore of Cormorant lake, at approximately the same height as the spoil heap. Only the light wasn't fantastic. Sigh.
The orange area, in the map below, is my attempt at mapping the infill so far on Cormorant lake. The purple hatched area is Finch pond infill.
Male Scaup. Until last week, I was blissfully unaware of the existence of this species of bird. I got talking to a couple of birders who had journeyed to Manor farm to see this bird.
My first problem in identifying this bird was its spelling. You see, its pronunciation sounds like Scorp. Looking at its entry in my trusty RSPB guide, I discover it is closely related to Tufted ducks. I have photographed many, many, many Tufted ducks as they swam in large armadas around Finch pond and Cormorant lake.
What, I thought, if there were Scaups lurking in the armadas. A quick flick through last weeks' photo, taken in very bad light, revealed this. Unfortunately it was far across Cormorant lake, and I have had to employ some major cropping to reveal the blighter.
There I was, thinking this rare visitor was nowt but a Tufted duck. I'll take a closer look through some of my other photos to see if I have a better shot.
I always find it ironic that in my ignorance I have seen and photographed all sorts of 'rare' birds that some people travel large distances to catch a glimpse of.
Now, some other wildlife photos. If only the light had been better. The cropped Kestrel photos have been lightened. I have a whole load of Kestrel photos from this morning, let down by bad light. Sigh.
Light conditions were too bad for decent photos of other birds e.g. Teal, Egyptian geese, etc lurking on the far side of the scrape in Cormorant lake (south).
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.