This week's scintillating edition harks back to the initial posts to this blog, where I kept to the south footpath. I had decided on Wednesday not to pay my customary site visit on Saturday. One reason was the Met office predicted heavy rain for my usual stomp time. They were actually right for once; it was pouring.
The main reason, however, was that on my Wednesday visit the site was empty. It was devoid of any plant, large or small. The pump was silent. The gates at the works (aka Bailey) bridge were locked shut to works traffic. Manor farm resembled the Marie Celeste.
I've seen this happen before. Inert shut up shop on Manor farm, and nothing apparent happens for weeks. Hence my decision not to visit on Saturday.
There were subtle signs that some activity had taken place earlier in the week. Some piles of spoil, heaped along the south west shore of Finch pond.
Chandlers farm, by contrast was a hive of activity. Various lorries and diggers, clanking about and up to various activities.
I was therefore quite surprised to see a bulldozer at work on Manor farm on our Thursday morning's school run. I stopped briefly on my way back to check my eyes were not deceiving me. Sure enough, a bulldozer was chugging away on the infill south west of Finch pond, and lorries were bringing it spoil. I determined still not to visit on Saturday, instead to pop down on Friday.
Friday, mid morning, bright and sunny, revealed two bulldozers at work. Well, one (on the south west shore of Finch pond) was chunkering away. The second, up by the west side of the copse, was stationary.
I later figured that there were not enough lorries to keep the second bulldozer adequately supplied with spoil. There appeared to be two John Stacey tipper lorries and a single Inert tipper lorries. Perhaps there were difficulties hiring tippers. The driver of the bulldozer would simply stop the bulldozer and wait for another delivery of spoil, before scraping it all over the place.
As I did not visit the site on Saturday, I am unsure what the bulldozers were up to. Judging by the movements of the bulldozer nearest the Longwater road, I would say it was building up the infill on the west side of Finch pond. The bulldozer next to the copse was building up infill there.
I could not see if the infill had reduced the size of what little remains of Finch pond. We'll find out next week, if it isn't tipping it down.
I met a birder on the south footpath, and we had a long chat by the transformer adjacent to Cormorant lake - basically a major viewing point. It transpires he was of the same mind as me about Manor farm being turned into a vanilla nature reserve i.e. trees and reed beds. He couldn't see the point of infilling Cormorant lake and planting reeds or of perhaps turning the land mass into grasslands/woodland.
The current set up of varied habitats (the 'post industrial landscape' of the 'land mass', the mud flats on which the huge curved pipe resides, the scrape and Cormorant lake itself) attracts a wide variety of species. There are already reed beds on Manor lake, Moor Green Lakes, plus the new ones created on Fleet Hill farm. My personal feeling is to infill Cormorant lake north, but to leave Cormorant lake south, the mudflats, scrape and land mass alone; well, perhaps have a little cosmetic tinkering.
It would save a packet of money, and it might reflect modern reserve design and/or fit in with the 'Back from the brink' initiative. Remember, the current design is a couple of decades old. But then again, what do I know about nature reserves.
Talking reserve: Wildlife was conspicuous by its absence this week. There was very little around on Friday, a bit more on Wednesday. At one point I thought it might have be down to the Peregrine lurking around. Alas, no. I didn't spot it.
The birder I met, said the Peregrine might have been the one he has seen on Fujitsu Towers in Bracknell. Damn, I didn't know that. I worked in an office block for ten years with clear sight of the Fujitsu building. A five minute walk, and I could have been camped outside the Daler Rowney factory or a little ways along Lovelace road, Peregrine spotting.
Strangely, the only reference I could find to Peregrines in Bracknell were over three years old, and only talked about a breeding pair on Winchester Tower aka 3M building. They hadn't been seen for five years prior to the tower's recent demolition.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.