To help control the water levels, and ensure the separation of fresh water from brackish water we have installed a dam at Cowpen Marsh. Originally, before the A178 was built and Seal Sands was drained, Saltholme's natural drainage was by Holme Fleet into Greatham Creek with an area of brackish water near the creek, but now we have to intervene to maintain a ballance and stop the fresh water washing out all the salt.
The earth bund has been badly eroded over the years and today we started work using piles made of recycled plastic which we hammered into the peaty soil quite close to the Cowpen Marsh car park. These should last 150 years!
Thanks to Brian for the photo of George, me, Dean and Josh putting in the second pile. The water in the foreground is fresh and the marsh behind brackish (salty), the road is behind the trees and the car park to the right.
The system is often used to restore peat bogs as in the Flow Country of Caithness - see Forsinard - where they slip easily into the peat drains, but our mixture of peat and clay is more of a challenge!
This week the elves have moved in, Saltholme elves are getting ready for the Scandinavian Christmas weekend coming up. Details about the weekends events can be found here.
You can see the little elves village, with goldfinches, blue tits, starlings and the waders too, all using the bird feeders around the feeding station which is visible from the visitors centre. You might just be able to see the fox tracks where they have been sticking to the paths...
- Josh McGowan
This week end the Starlings have performed well for our 'Soup and Starlings' events. Yesterday they were illuminated by a shaft of sunset from beneath the cloud and Lockhart (hide guide) capured this photo.
The redness of the evening light really shows well on the birds. They did spend longer in their murmuration due to the presence of a couple of Sparrowhawks, whereas today the guest appearance was from a Marsh Harrier.
Today, as we were waiting for the Starlings to arrive, a large skein of Pink-footed Geese flew over, and yesterday morning Lockhart got a close view of these Barnacle Geese.
The 'Soup and Starlings' events are now fully booked, so sorry to those who could not be accomodated.