Friday, 13 March 2015

Wow - it's nearly finished

The Safari wasn't able to add anything to the list today. The beach was very quiet at low tide early morning. It was misty out to sea but fortunately the roughly 1000 Common Scoters weren't too far behind the light surf. The offshore wind had calmed the sea enough to be able to have a reasonable look through them - sadly we couldn't find anything other than Common Scoters.
There was no chance of a look at lunchtime but we had to go to the nature reserve to collect some tools for a bit of a project of Sunday. We've not been for a while and were keen to be shown around by the team. There's been an impressive amount of work since last time both from the volunteer groups and my have they been busy, and the heavy machinery. It looks a bit devastated but the machinery will be off site in a couple of weeks and the recovery of the vegetation will begin.
The 'Paddock' has been mown and is just waiting for a Wheatear to drop in - so much so we've offered a Mars Bar to the first person to find one there...what a prize! AH has offered a huge chink of choccy cake if any finds a Ring Ouzel, now that's what we call a prize!
Looking east
Looking west
A channel has been cleared along the edge of the reedbed and there's a few perpendicular cuts to be out in next week to create more reed edge/open water marginal habitat to allow fish in and through the reedbed and the former one in front of the green hide will be reopened.

Come the autumn the channel will be almost indiscernible as reeds will have re-grown but not as densely as the original reedbed, just right for a Bittern or two to fish for Eels. A couple of Mallards and a Moorhen were rooting around the floating bits of rhizome and three Cetti's Warblers blasted out bursts of song at each other along the length you can see here.

From the 'Paddock' we wandered up onto the new raised mound for the 'Panoramic' Hide (it probably won't be called that when it arrives later in the spring) - the view is impressive and nothing like you've seen on the reserve before.
From there we traversed the rather impressive ruts the dumper has left to get to the island. It looks bad but there'll be plenty of material available to blade them over so you'll not know they were ever there by the end of the summer.
The island works have really cracked on and the scrape is getting down to final level and up to final expanse - yikes it's big! Once the last bits of vegetation are scraped away the view across it from the Fylde Bird Club hide should be pretty darned good.
In the foreground and to the left and right there are shallow bendy channels and a few pools all linking up in a maze of waterways still to be dug. Between the dumper and digger there's a bit of a pond. It doesn't look that big out in the field but is probably about twice the size of the entire garden here at Base Camp.
The vegetation on the top of the plateau (up the muddy slope) will be scraped off and the ground smoothed out with the odd shallow depression just to add a bit of variation of niches in the micro-habitat, hopefully some species of waders like Oystercatchers and Lapwings might be tempted to nest up there.
A quick chat with the lads doing the work about the Sand Martin nesting bank work on which will start once the digging works are finished, finished our visit nicely.
We didn't see much wildlife although to be honest we weren't looking too hard but we did see a Goldcrest in the scrub area where the volunteers have been hard at work and another along the main path near the works compound. When we were at the Sand Martin bank three Oystercatchers flew over calling loudly, they are just eyeing it up waiting for the diggers to get out of the way.
It's going to be an interesting spring and summer.
Where to next? Dare we get out early and look in the Paddock for that Wheatear and win the Mars Bar?
In the meantime let us know who's waiting to land on the cut grass in your outback.


cliff said...

A brilliant read & set of photos Dave.
I can't wait to get down there, especially with the chance of winning food on offer, although surely you shouldn't be allowed to win your own mars bar competition - check the small print!

Sadly I don't think I'll have chance to get out at all this weekend, I'll maybe manage a couple of sessions in the garden between family stuff & the supermarket :-(

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

I think I should Cliff. There were lots of wheatears around the mere area last year and I failed to see a single one of them