Saturday, 17 March 2012

He Had A Dream

2 Years ago Alan Johnston "had a dream" (possible copyright infringement here) and submitted a couple of pictures to the Northumberland Wildlife Trust for the siting of a scrape at Big Waters.  The first was the before shot

Then there was his impression

About 6 weeks ago the first steps went ahead with Jeff from the Wildlife Trust and a few volunteers strimming the grass and weeds and felling a couple of trees in order to clear a space behind the reeds.  Then on Thursday another Work Party comprising of Alan, Jeff, Craig Ballantyne, John Day, Alan Foster and myself made a second concentrated attack on the reeds and cutting back the regrowing  "foliage" once again.  To say it was hard was a bit of an understatement although maybe advancing years in one or two cases contributed to the toughness of the task and ones own personal fitness did not help at all.

I was substituted in the water just after lunch with the arrival of Alan Foster and put on "easier duties", even though I thought I had the easiest job anyway as "Occasional Reed Puller Outerer and Pusher of Weeds into a heap person".  Alan and Craig (who isn't a bird watcher but his Dad his) were magnificent in their efforts and then when Alan F arrived it was obvious Alex Ferguson Alan Johnston had saved the Super Sub for an opportune moment.  Meanwhile Jeff and John managed to strip the foliage away with an amazing effort.
Here is a few pics of the day of all those gallant workers and me!

THE GAFFER (note the dirt on the face, compliments of Craig)

Alan and Craig pondering where to start

The weed chucking begins

After moving a lot of stuff to back up the scrape which took too much effort the 
floating island theory was formed and the plan changed to Alan and Craig pulling 
and me moving and pushing

Go on.... it'll come out

Just to prove I was in the water but for those who have figured out that I was
designated "pic-taker" of the day will realise that some of the pics were taken
from in the water

Super Sub Alan Foster arrives and with a quick change of waders the work rate doubles

John Day and Jeff cutting away and no doubt they will be back in
a month or so to do it again

Me trying to look important (and busy)
(Pic courtesy of Craigs Dad)

Alan going to see a man about a dog 

I then did a short video in the style of Murray Walker (called someone
by the wrong name, called Jeff, from NWT, Craig Whoops)
(Remember to play the UTube Version)

The finished version 

We then headed home with Jeff amazingly pushing his wheel barrow through the mud faster than I could walk, both of the Alans had quite bad cramps and unbelievably Craig just picked up the 3 sets of waders,
put them in a huge bag and carried them over his shoulder like their was nothing there.

Then an email today from Alan J showing the first bird to be seen on the scrape


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