Arnside and beyond

By gladders

Another day at the office

Here is Derek walking the channel before taking his trusty, rusty Nuffield tractor across to reach Chapel Island in the Leven estuary.  In another week or so, hundreds of eider ducks will arrive to nest on the island, protected to some extent at least from predators and human disturbance by tides, channels and quicksands.  

The eiders nest on the ground in the open, but there are also many pairs of shelducks attracted to this little island of limestone protruding from the muddy sediments.  Shelducks nest underground, often in old rabbit burrows, and there is a dearth of suitable nest holes on the island (and indeed all around Morecambe Bay and its tributary estuaries).  So today, we were giving them a helping hand, making nest holes for them.

Another day at the office?  I wish!  But it was wonderful to have a day out doing something practical for conservation.  And we chose the perfect day for it too.  I didn't need to take the coat and leggings I had packed, and even a fleece jacket was too hot after a few minutes digging.  It was so warm in fact that B quite enjoyed his dip in the channel on the way back, even though he hadn't planned to jump off the back of the bucking tractor.

On Chapel Island is the ruin of a ruin.  Of the Chapel that was once built here, there is said to be no trace, and what we see today was built as a "mock pseudo-classical ruin" in the 1820s (thank you, Wikipedia).

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