|COMMON REDSHANK (TRINGA TOTANUS),SUMMER LEYS NATURE RESERVE|
So I got up and thought I would check out Summer Leys (even though I said I wouldn't), as I wanted to swing pass and check a Kestrel and Barn Owl field I wrote about...."oh crap" were the words that sprung to mind, the field looked like a lake with a few trees jutting out the surface, the tree the Barn Owl was in was three quarters under water, there's no way the Barn Owl was still here, just hope it's still alive as with the Kestrel.
So I hit the A45 and drove up to Summer Leys, everywhere was flooded, the mill just after Earls Barton (next to Ecton Bend Lake) was surrounded by water, so instead of taking the next turning for Great Doodington I carried onto Wellingborough and went via Little Irchester, jesus, even the Embankment area was seriously flooded as I drove between Little Irchester and Wollaston I glanced over towards Summer Leys, ooops it looked like one big lake. Mary's lake, Pete Wilds etc all flooded, this was looking grim. As I approached the tip/turning for Grendon I was greeted by "Road Ahead Closed", but knowing the road I was thinking it could only be flooded near the Mill and were the river enters the reserve, I was lucky/right however cones were stretched across the road just after the entrance of the carpark. As I pulled in I clocked there was a bloke chopping some of the willow down, surely he wasn't going to burn it! No he was making a fence/hedgerow in the carpark out of it.
Finally!!! It's one of my pet hates that all Nature reserves do is the cutting down of willow, yeah I know it's invasive, yeah I know it can clog water channels and dry out marshy areas, but my pet hate is what happens to the chopped down willow. It always seemed to me a bit Zombie like to cut down a carbon absorbing plant and then BURN IT, releasing all that stored carbon into the atmosphere. So much can be done with willow from basket weaving (ok even I laugh at that one), screens leading up to hides, screen hides themselves (like the one at Stanwick Lakes feeding station), to fences as applied to the carpark. Surely (even if the demand is low) it could be used as a income stream for smaller wildlife trusts, just stop burning it, it's hardly "green".
I went to the main hide, there is no scrape! the lake has broken over the bund and it's all one big lake. Access around the reserve was no existent I struggled to get to the two-tier hide and could not go any further, walked the other way and could not get much further then the just after the bridge, flooded.
It was now I thought I would do something a bit different, there was no traffic on the road and walked down the road, bit of a novelty, but the lack of cars and people highlighted one of Summer Leys other faults...too many people walking around. There were loads of Redwings/Fieldfares/Bullfinches/Tits/1 Goldcrest/6 Siskins and roughly the same number of Redpolls I even had a male Sparrowhawk glide through the carpark and perch on the Rotary Hide. Now don't get me wrong I'm all for people other then myself using places like Summer Leys (I subscribe to the ethos of "use it or risk losing it"). However in Northants recently everywhere has introducded "pay and display" parking schemes,when they were once free. This has meant the only place left for them all to go without paying is Summer Leys, and the place is too small and simply can't handle the number of visitors, but funnily these people are the first to moan about "no cafe, no toilets etc" but aren't prepared to pay for them via carparking fees.
So why the title post? Well as I was stood on the road the occasional car would drive past the cones. I flagged all of them down and told them they weren't going to get any further then the next bend. Did they say thanks and turnaround, did they heck "I'll give it a go" said one zombie in a Smart car, yep Smart car dumb driver, a few moments later he returned..snigger. Then a bloke in a big Mercedes "it's got very clever electronics, it'll make it", "yeah but electric and water don't mix mate". A few moments later his car limps back round and stalls right near me "you don't have any jump leads, do you", "yeah but you can't jump start that model mate, it fry's the electronics", "no it doesn't", "It does, I've reposed a lot of these Mercs mate, trust me". Someone else tried jumping his car and his alarm went off and his key fob refused to work, should've listened eventually a RAC truck loads him up and carts him off I could hear the RAC man say "in the manual it warns you not to jump start the engine". I swear, either I'm speaking a foreign language or people just don't believe what I tell them. A total of 13 vehicles were flagged down by myself and all 13 ignored my friendly advice and all returned. Even the bloke installing the hedge said people just don't listen. I had by now had enough and wanted to get home and watch the Grand Prix, as I did a Power Ranger on a motorbike drove through the cones and promptly returned, honestly which part of "road closed" and cones blocking a road don't people GET!! All the behaviour of a nation of people using the common sense of a ZOMBIE.
The end result flight shots of Redwings that look like bullets (wings folded back) and not much else, 1 Barn Owl and Kestrel field flooded (seriously worried about that), the weather beating me....but at least I didn't get bitten!!!