According to the weatherman 'The Beast from the east' was supposed to start drifting across the country on Tuesday. You could have fooled me. It was a somewhat nippy minus five degrees centigrade as I began my walk at the relatively civilised time of 7:30am this morning. When I got back to my car at 8:55 the temperature had climbed to a toasty minus one degree centigrade. At least there was no wind, and the late February sun now had a bit of strength to it.
Cemex and Inert were conspicuous by their absence; as were participants on the local sports complex. It was all terribly quiet. No screaming kids or bellowing dads from the sports complex. No bulldozer, digger or lorries on the quarry.
As Inert were not working today, I decided to take a wander down to the crater - the big hole on the Hampshire part of the reserve. Inert, as you could see from the previous two blogs, had been filling it in. I did notice rather a lot of large piles of earth lined up near the works buildings. They weren't there the last time I wandered down to the crater. It's hard to tell what is going on. Cemex are shipping soil in, but at the same time they are shipping soil out. We see heavily laden lorries pulling out of the Cemex entrance on our way to school.
I attended the Moor Green Lakes AGM this past Thursday. Totally unknown for me to attend an AGM voluntarily. Normally it has to be at gun point. It was, I must admit, quite interesting. The speakers rattled through their presentations, before breaking for food: a rather splendid spread provided by Cemex. I am very impressed with the efforts Cemex make with local communities.
The speakers gave summaries of the species of birds, mammals and butterflies on Moor Green Lakes; and are part of national recording initiatives. Even the treasurer kept my attention. I was gob smacked to learn that the AGM report is sent to a number of libraries and the National History museum!!! WOW. It was also sobering to realise how important the reserves are.
With nothing happening on the reserve this week, I switched to my backup task of photographing wildlife. It does present me with a problem now; trying to look for anything that Inert/Cemex have done and also looking out for wildlife; especially as I now whack sightings onto iRecord.
My careful vacuuming of my DSLR and subsequent removal of that horrible hair has succeeded. No annoying hair in the top right hand corner of photographs.
I've split the slideshow into sections: some arty shots (as the sunrise wasn't bad this morning), miscellaneous shots of the reserve (including the crater), results of the Moor Green Lakes volunteers clear up around Colnbrook hide and Plover island, and some of the wildlife I spotted today.
First the arty shots.
Now moving on to the restoration efforts.
A rather mixed bag this week. I took advantage of clear weather, bright conditions and lack of squidgy mud to take some photos of Manor farm. A departure from the rather dark, murky photos of late.
Water levels in the lakes continue to fall, and I discovered a channel between Cormorant lake and Manor lake south that Inert had cut some weeks back to try and aid draining of the lakes. Only the channel was hidden behind a ridge of earth.
The ground was, for the most part, quite frozen. In parts, however, it had a frozen crust, which broke through to squidgy deep mud when I stood on it. Glad I wore wellies rather than boots, which I had originally intended. I did have some feeling in my toes at the end of the walk. They weren't frozen through.
The whole area is festooned with fox, deer and geese tracks. Plus mine. With little rain, they last for weeks.
Moving smartly on to results of Moor Green Lakes volunteers and BVCP rangers work party.
The work involved on the scrape (Tern island) was glorified gardening, spiced with the possibility of falling into the lake. People did as much or as little as they could. A mighty effort by all to clear a considerable quantity of vegetation, and yielding a pristine scrape.
A shore party set about loping back willow and birch saplings, and cutting back tall vegetation. Again volunteers did as much as they could; any help welcome. The saplings stumps were then treated to try and stop them regrowing.
I managed to find some photos of Tern island I had taken late last year to give you a feel of what it looked like before the clean up. My focus then was on photographing the wildlife, which means the photos do not quite line up with the ones I took of the scrape. I have cut and pasted the two photos together in an attempt to give a better feel. Note, it is a very crude cut and paste jobbie, but you get the drift.
Now some of the wildlife I observed.
Now I tend to be torn between racing around the reserve to record any changes Inert/Cemex have done or having a leisurely stroll to capture the abundant wildlife. Currently I still race around, but soon I should be able to sit in a portable hide.
I went back in the afternoon with my partner, partly for a walk and partly to put the trail cam back out. It spent the entire last week in test mode, therefore not taking any videos. DOH! The new one works differently to my old one.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.