I started the day with a bit of an early morning dash to Farlington Marsh to let a contractor in through the gates to clear under the powerlines. An advantage was that I arrived in good time and was greeted by a great view across the Harbour as I waited by the height barrier.
I know the powerlines need to be kept clear of trees to stop shorting of the supply, but somehow the needs of the clearance gangs appear to get greater every time. We used to have trouble with them turning up out of the blue in May or June and just setting about the vegetation at the height of the nesting season, thankfully those days seem to be gone and they do now contact us well in advance. The problem now is that the extent of the clearance has grown to the extent that now they want a wide short ride cut under and either side of the lines, meaning the area cleared is much larger. This year there is the added problem that the ground is so wet that it will be hard for them to work without causing a lot of damage to the ground. I confess the size of the machinery they plan to use was initially daunting, although it was only the machine of the trailer that they will be using.
After my early trip to Farlington I had to get over to Swanwick for the usual Monday volunteer workparty. We had a dry day, which was welcome, I think this was the fifth dry day in a row, I’m almost getting used to it! We were doing some tree and scrub clearance near the Centre, there will not be many more sessions of this before the spring calls a halt. At lunchtime I walked down the Lake and the usual shoal of carp were swimming around, including the discarded pet koi. Unfortunately carp are quite damaging to shallow lakes as they stir up the bed, discarded per fish can be very detrimental as they often carry disease. Koi in particular can carry carp plague, this does not kill them but if it is caught by common carp it is deadly.
Moving pond creatures about is very risky and often leads to the introduction of disease and alien species. With spring just around the corner people will probably moving frog spawn about, but please don’t be tempted to do it! This is one way that serious diseases passes from one pond to another and spread through the amphibian population. I also spotted a rock near the lake with an impressive collection of lichens growing on it.
Hampshire does not have a lot of naturally occurring rock and I understand these are boulders that were dug up from within the clay when it was excavated for the brickworks.