Thursday, 5 July 2012

Restaharrow and Backsand update (4th July)

With the forecast looking good I decided to check out Restharrow and Backsand Scrapes.
I wasn’t going to do Backsand but since the water levels on Restharrow had dropped significantly over the last week or so it seemed worthwhile.
Restharrow was disappointing. A common sandpiper had been seen earlier in the week and a green sandpiper earlier this morning but all that was there when I was there was a lone redshank and that was miles away. Other than that it was as it has been for the last month, little grebe, coots, lapwings, oycs and a few tatty looking mallards and gulls. The only bit of interest were the house matins (and a lone swallow) which were collecting mud from the island in front of the hide. I took a few images to adorn this posting and the martins decided that was a cue to fight (or they could have been attempting to  mate) whatever it was it looked pretty violent.

House Martins
As I entered the Estate I noticed excavation going on in the adjacent field. The Obs have signed a lease for some more land – the field adjacent to Restharrow scrape - and have planning permission to dig another pool. This pool is being set out specifically for dragon flies though I suspect ducks and little grebes may find it attractive. What was amusing this morning was the antics of the cows – they had climbed into the embryonic pool and the digger man was trying to encourage them to leave.
Inspectors of Holes
Sorry about the picture but I only had the 400mm lens.
Newdowns to Backsand was very quiet, just a few chaffinch, house martins, reed warblers, whitethroats and a lone Cetti’s called from the rear bank of the reservoir bund. My last few walks down to Backsand have been enlivened by hares (5 on the last visit) and grey partridge but not today – I saw none.
Backsand was a big disappointment. After seeing the water levels at Restharrow I was expecting to see some mud banks but the water is still too deep so the only mud is around the main islands. On the duck front  there were 15 tufties (all adults going into eclipse) and a couple of dozen mallard (plus 3 juvs). There were 2 little egrets on the river and another 3 on the scrape but 2 of those soon flew off,
The field either side of the track leading to Backsand have wheat in them this year and it is covered with small snails (~ ½ inch across). I have no idea what species they are but they must be doing quite a bit of damage.

So anyone thinking of going down Backsand should wait a few more days in the hope it dies out some more though it rained quite a bit in Kingsdown last night; pumping the water out may be the only answer after the wettest drought in living memory..

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