Well, as I start this blog today its early afternoon and the first day of the 2nd Test Match is not going well with England already five wickets down to India, I've had to walk away from it! Its also yet another warm but grey and sunless day, what a joke this summer and its forecasts have been, although we did actually get a couple of hours of hot sunshine late yesterday. I was also amused yesterday to read a local blog that I follow, why I don't know because its always pretty boring, to see that after the writer and some of his "followers" had spent the last few weeks complaining about the constant bad weather, that he then complained yesterday about it being too warm - work that out!
Anyway, in the real world, where we're glad of anything that resembles a summer, the good news on the reserve is that we at last have the limited use of a bulldozer and a digger in order to try and rectify at least part of the last 15 years of non-maintenance. Today the bulldozer was in "The Flood", the compartment in front of the Seawall Hide, beginning to re-profile the reel-ways that snake across it. These reel-ways are areas of shallow water and insect life that in the Spring are valuable areas of habitat for Lapwing and Redshank chicks. There is much that these machines need to do on the reserve but they are expensive to hire and budgets are tight.
If the current dry conditions prevail it will unfortunately be many months before this work shows any value and they hold water, but it's so great to see some work taking place. The reserve is currently bone dry and rock hard and if it follows last years pattern, which it looks like it will, it will be Christmas before any substantial water is to be seen on the surface. If you double click on these photos and enlarge them you will see how dry the place looks.
Along the saltings edge the Sea Lavendar still looks good and colourful.
The last place that I visited this morning was the area that we know as "The Banks". This long and narrow stretch of the reserve is below Harty Church and slopes down to the saltings. It was grazed in the early Spring but has been left alone since then and has turned into a great example of hay meadow, full of various wild flowers, especially large areas of Spiny Rest Harrow and Trefoil. It is easily the best part of the reserve at the moment and is hosting large numbers of butterflies as a result. This morning it was apparent that a hatch of good numbers of 6-Spot Burnet moths was taking place, the first photo shows one emerging and then the second, two getting it on together.
Lastly, the Mink trap in one of the ditches. This hasn't caught any Mink and I have closed the entrance but it remains in place because of its attraction as a platform for Water Voles. Look at this photo of it and the amount of dropping and the fact that club rush stems have been eaten there. I haven't actually seen a Water Vole on the reserve for a few years, but this proves that they are there.