Whoops, I meant to put this under Odds and Sods. Is there any way to move this?
It was the night of the blue supermoon on 31st January 2018. For some barmy reason, at 7.30pm, I decided to wrap up warm and disappear down to the Manor farm part of the Eversley quarry restoration and take photos of said moon over Finch pond.
You probably wont have heard of Manor farm, but I have a post on this community (https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/f/49260/t/197248.aspx) which takes you to my blog where I have weekly updates on how Cemex are restoring the quarry to a nature reserve.
Back to this entry. I clambered over the gate to the site and squelched my way to Finch pond. It was flooded, due the heavy rains. The nearby Blackwater had burst its banks, and whilst above said river, the water in the lakes in Manor farm didn't really have anywhere to go.
Anyway, I plonked the old tripod down into the mud having got as close to the water's edge as I dared in the gloom. I had sunk up to my knees in mud the consistency of quicksand during the previous months, so was both very wary of the stuff and very adept at avoiding it. You would not believe how long it takes to extricate yourself from this situation whilst trying not to get one's DSLR or clothing (i.e. coat, my trousers were a gonner) covered in mud. It's measured in minutes, and hard work.
I hauled off a few shots of this nascent reserve, some with the local wildfowl, others with the sports ground looking rather neat. Sadly, most of Finch pond will be filled in (a process currently underway), so such scenes will no longer occur. Happily, most of Finch pond will become much needed reed beds, and the flow of the Colebrook will be reinstated through what is left of this pond.
All shots are from the Longwater road entrance. All but one are facing east over Finch pond. The streaks in the sky are due to the long exposure times, as is the smoothness of the lake water.
The photo below was taken from the actual entrance to the site, and has one of the large concrete sewer pipe sections in it. These pipe sections (well, they are actually square in cross section, and are roughly 6'x5' (1.8mx1.5m)) are now used by the restoration company to mark the trackways for the large number of haulage lorries. The lorries would bring loads of inert soil from the Hampshire part of the site, over the Blackwater, along the south side of Manor farm, then dump it where the bulldozer driver tells them to.
As you can see, I had a bit of a squelchy trek to get to the water's edge.
In the photo below, there was dry land between me and the little row of 'islands' running across the middle of the photo two months earlier. These marked where the bulldozer had pushed soil to prior to Christmas. They were a good 4 feet (1.2m) high and well clear of the normal water levels such that I was able to walk over to them and stand on them in earlier visits. During the next deluges during February and March, they disappeared under water.
The photo below is the only south facing shot. The row of lights, looking not unlike a small chemical plant or docks, are the sports grounds on the Hampshire side of the site. Unfortunately, the planners in Hampshire elected to have the large majority of their part of Eversley quarry turned into sports facilities. They would have a small area given over to a nature reserve. The Berkshire planners have all of their part of the quarry (Fleet Hill farm and Manor farm) made into a nature reserve.
And now the nature. There were a few birds on the islands. Most took to the water when they saw me. One brave soul hung around for a bit. The next sequence of shots has me doing a combination of walking closer and also zooming in on it. When you get too close, the birds take to the water. They are very wary on the reserve, even the Mallards and Canada geese. Go to the local park, a couple of miles away and you'll get killed in the stampede as they fight to get to you and any food you may have!
Even closer still
After half an hour of this, I was very cold and matters weren't helped by the moon moving around to produce less interesting shots. So I went home.
Your lunatic, wet footed blogger (that's another story)
Hi Angus, I use my iPad most of the time and have tried to copy and paste onto the Odds and Sods, but with no luck afraid, would be easier on the computer. Hopefully someone can. I don't actually think you can move the post, it would have to stay and be copied over. Anyway what a nice story of your adventure out on a cold January evening and lovely photos also. Glad you never got stuck again and got out safely!!
Lovely photos Angus.