Somewhat unusually, dear reader, the gates across the works bridge were firmly shut today. One set was locked with padlock and chain. Unfortunately, one of the posts holding one of the gates was so rotten it fell over, allowing easy access to the Manor Farm part of the reserve.
Cemex do this every now and again. Close and lock the gates. I wonder if it is a legal thing? I know that some private roads and footpaths are closed to the public at least once a year. I believe this establishes the right of the owners of to said path/road to do so and reinforces their ownership.
I am afraid, dear reader, that is the extent of the excitement for this week. Cemex/Insert do no appear to have touched Manor Farm. I didn't step over the fallen gate and climb the iron footbridge to see if anything happened to the Hampshire part of the reserve. It is possible Cemex/Inert might have been working on this part of the reserve, as I did hear machinery, but as I didn't walk along the south footpath I couldn't tell for sure.
The pump is still chugging away, just about keeping up with the ingress of water from all the rain we've had over the past week. More rain to come tomorrow.
Even the wild life proved disappointing. A couple of Shelduck; the usual flotillas of Tufted duck; gulls and terns of course; even the normally reliable Roe deer only put in one appearance. Two Lapwings appear to have made Manor farm their own. They were wheeling around the sky. Only four Canada geese honked into view. There were the usual assortment of Wrens, Moorhens, Coots, Pigeons, and UBBs (Unidentified Brown Birds) flitting about.
Three Egyptian geese were having a right old barney above the grasslands of Manor farm. They were putting on quite a display, chasing and screaming. Unusually I saw them land in trees. Normally they plod along the ground.
Even more unusually, as I drove back I spotted a rather bemused Egyptian goose, standing on the corner of Fleet Hill and Longwater road, next to the Greyhound pub. It seemed quite comfortable, just standing there. Normally they keep as much distance between them and you as is possible. Then again, they probably do not associate cars with humans.
Unusually for 7:50 am I did espy three bird watchers about. I'm normally totally on my own that early in the morning. The occasional jogger or dog walker makes a rare sighting.
Afternoon update: My partner and I popped back to the reserve at 12:45; parking in the Moor Green Lakes car park before walking along the north edge of Manor farm, then coming back via the south footpath. The glorious weather and dry conditions brought out the 'Sunday' walkers in force. Never seen so many people hoofing it along the footpaths.
My partner (who was on mammal lookout) was over the moon as she saw a Kingfisher zooming up the Blackwater. I spotted a snake again along the banks of the Blackwater, but only the lower three quarters of its body as it quickly slithered into the under growth. In all likelihood it was a small Grass Snake; I only saw something brown, about the thickness of my thumb, and roughly 40cm long - well the bit I saw. It moved quite quickly.
Once again we spooked two Shelduck, this time on Finch pond. They flew off, but we then spotted them resting on Plover island (along with Egyptian Geese) on our way back to the car park. A Grey Heron flew over ominously as they do, while a Kestrel kept an eye on us from quite a distance. An Oyster Catcher did attempt to land on an island near the viewing point in Colnbrook lake (south), but the nesting Canada geese (and other birds) put it off.
I did manage to photograph the Skylark on the fields south of the Blackwater. I never thought Skylarks would live in such relatively built up areas. I mean, to the immediate south of the fields are the playing fields; to the east is the active quarry. While on the Manor farm grasslands, we still have all the noise and bustle from the restoration, plus the actual Manor farm along the Lower Sandhurst road with its machinery, and some of the housing along said road.
All in all, quite a good afternoon.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.