This is my second blog post in the space of a few minutes!
Those of you who regularly visit the reserve will have noticed we don't have much water at the moment. For a wetland site this isn't great, however it is related to factors that in the long run will see Langford Lowfields becoming even more amazing. Before I get into the reason for the low levels, I should say that low water levels aren't always a bad thing, especially at this time of year; lots of bare mud is exposed for the passage wading birds to feed on, it makes it a lot easier for us to get out onto the reedbed islands to plant more reed, increased oxygenation of the reed leaf litter means it can decompose more efficiently and the reed gets a bit stressed and starts sending out more runners, meaning that the established patches of reed should expand out even more.
The main reason why we don't have much water is because the large area of land to the south of the existing reserve is being restored at the moment by Tarmac, this will see the addition of about 40ha of prime reedbed habitat to the reserve. This exciting project is due for completion by the end of this year. Carrying out land-forming work with diggers, dozers and dumpers is hard if you're operating underwater and so the water is being pumped out of the restoration area. This does mean however that a large water gradient has been set up between 'our' wet bit and 'their' dry bit, so water is fairly quickly exiting the reedbed by percolating through the banks and disappearing. Once restoration work is completed (it's all going to plan and looks amazing) the area will be flooded up again and the reserve will start to fill up. Make the most of these low water levels as it will be concentrating the fish into smaller areas, I keep seeing kingfishers flying around, a big pike is lurking on front of the pond dipping platform and the herons and egrets seem to be having a great time. Keep an eye out for the greenshanks and green sandpipers too as they feed on the exposed muddy areas or fly over squeaking loudly.
A downside to the low water levels (ignoring the fact the fish are probably getting a bit concerned) is the fact we've had to close the floating bridge, this is a great shame, but the bridge is just not designed to take the weight of people whilst either end of it are beached on dry land. The floating bridge is one of the key features of Langford so I felt sad having to close it off, but so as not to damage it we have no option. Please bear in mind that with on-going construction work at the top end of the reserve you can't do a circular walk within the Langford Lowfields reserve at the moment, hopefully this will only be for another couple of months though and the 4 mile walk around the whole outer perimeter of the site and from which you can get great views of the restoration work is still open for business.
Restoring the quarried areas into amazing wetland habitats