Friday, 1 October 2010
St Aidan's down to Rainham
By any reckoning, St Aidan's is a large hole in the ground. Formerly one of the UK’s largest open cast coal mines (operated by UK Coal), this site, located alongside the River Aire to the east of Leeds, has now been re-landscaped to form a huge wetland complex of open water, wet grassland and reedbed; assessing the development of the latter was the aim of this latest stop on the reedbed tour.
The final day of the week was spent in the wind and rain walking the ditch-lines of Rainham Marshes in order to come to a better understanding of how water flows around the site. The fixed facilities of a visitor-orientated nature reserve often conflict with the flexibility required to manage a site to its ecological potential. With new viewing facilities being constructed, the complex hydrology is in need of an overhaul. The aim is to work towards a more strategic and better use of the available water resources, and overall, provide better birding. Curlew, Rock Pipit and Med Gull appeared out of the driving rain.