Im not sure if Bob ever told the story about why he named this blog ‘the 108ft blog’ but to mark the occasion of my 108th post on these pages I thought I should do something to mark the occasion and what better than to answer all those questions of why these pages have such a cryptic name….
The reason this blog is called the 108ft blog is basically because the height difference between our reserves in the South East Hampshire region (or the Solent Reserves) is roughly 108ft. Farlington is the lowest of our reserves. Unsurprisingly, as it is reclaimed from the sea, it is mostly just below sea-level. Our highest reserve is Hook Heath Meadows, which isn’t really all that high, but is still a modest hundred or so feet above sea level behind Portsdown hill. Thus a difference in height of 108ft.
In double checking our reserves spot heights on an Ordnance Survey map (one way to spend a dark autumnal evening) it turns out our other reserves in the region are quite low too. Swanwick lakes highest point is only 20 metres (65 foot) above sea level and of course our other coastal reserves (Southmoor, Milton Locks and Pewit Island) are only a couple of metres above the big blue. Indeed most of the south coast of Hampshire is very low and if we are to have the predicated amount of sea level rise in the coming years our coastline will look very different and it will be very interesting to see how we manage this change.
Not one to leave a celebratory post on a downer – Farlington is still playing host to some spectacular bird highlights. Yesterday four Short-eared owls were giving some cracking views. One was using the entirety of the Point field. Quartering all the rough grass, unbothered by people on the seawall. Another three were in the Main Marsh. One concentrating around the deeps while the other two were using the far northern end often crossing paths, having a little squabble, upturning and briefly locking talons.
Other highlights on the reserve yesterday were; 35 Snipe on the newly cut area of reeds at the Lake, 8 Pintail bobbed around in the centre of the lake with a good collection of Teal, Mallard and Wigeon. Looking the other way from the lake view point, out in the harbour were 17 Avocet. 2 Kingfisher also zipped by. Around at The Deeps were 6 Shoveler and on the grass were 80 Brent geese (only 6 were juvenile birds) – the first I’ve seen this winter grazing the marsh. Out in the harbour in a creek of Bakers Island was also a roosting Spoonbill.