The Tower Hide at the rear of the reserve is no more, on Tuesday it was pulled down and burnt, all that remains are a few Elderberry bushes to mark where it once stood. It had been in-situ for over twenty-five years and was badly showing its age and had become a liability in respect of health and safety. This was borne out when it was pulled over to reveal that half of the thick uprights that it stood on were rotten at their base, severe gales this winter could of seen its demise anyway.
This now leaves the Sea Wall Hide below as the sole survivor of the original hides that once rung the reserve, and as regular visitors will know, that itself is far past it's best and probably due to suffer the same fate as the Tower Hide.
Regular visitors will have also noted that both of the previous entry points onto the reserve along the seawall have now been closed and in effect that there is no access on to the main reserve in front of the Sea Wall Hide now at all. Why, you might ask. Well, with the need to access the Tower Hide now gone and the narrowness of the reserve along its length, most of it can be viewed easily from the seawall and the most recently closed access point across the Delph fleet was always a bad thing. In a normal winter it was hardly useable due to the marsh beyond being flooded and in the breeding season it allowed people to walk across the marsh within feet of nesting Lapwings and Redshanks.
But all this doom and gloom needs to be viewed as a short term event, estimates are being sort for the provision of at least two new seawall hides next year which should make viewing the reserve far more comfortable, especially once the newly dug scrapes and rills fill with water. Other improvements are also being considered, so hopefully next year will see the reserve being re-born so to speak.
There has also been a few new improvements to the habitat out there made this week, this time on the farmland. The farmer that owns the grazing fields that run from the Shellness track, across to the reserve, has dug several shallow scrapes across them. These fields in recent years have been host to numerous breeding Lapwings but have suffered from quickly drying out, these scrapes should help increase the survival rates of Lapwing chicks by providing much needed insect life at a vital time. Once again a much maligned shooting farmer has ticked some very important boxes for wildlife.
Lastly, can I say how touched I've been at the comments and E-Mails that I've received expressing sympathy over the passing on of Nana. Dogs are not everybody's cup of tea and I can understand some people finding it all a bit over the top, that's fair enough, but anybody who has had the companionship of a dog over a long period of time will have known how I felt.
But time has to move on and descisions made and I decided to get another companion for both Midge and myself, and the result was another Jack Russell, called Ellie and seen below. She is only nine weeks old and in the picture seems to be daring anybody to get in the conservatory door, but at just 8 inches high, she's kidding herself. So, as anybody who has brought up a puppy will know, the next few weeks and months will be beset with non-sleep and tension as she tries to chew her way round the house and train me to her way of thinking, and Midge is trying to recall how blissful it was to be able to sleep without having her ears chewed.