November 29th – An early afternoon loop up to Chasewater of a warm but blowy day caught me in the rain once more. The canal was deserted and everything looked grey; Chasewater was little better. 

The wind was such that it drove groups of swans into the shallows over by the dam for shelter, and they didn’t look very happy about it; even the gulls loafed idly in the shallows.

I’m fed up of this weather. There has to be better spell on the horizon. This is grinding me down and making photography very hard!

January 19th – A beautiful day. After some time spannering the bike to cure the previous weekend’s mechanical ills, I took a sunset run out over Chasewater, down through Burntwood and Hammerwich, back up to Pipe Hill, and returned via Wall, Chesterfield and Hilton. It was a fine, cold winter ride. 

Chasewater, as I predicted yesterday, is now overflowing and irrigating the spillway. If you want to see this (and it’s worth taking a look), get there quickly, as I suspect it won’t be allowed to overflow for too long.

The gull roost seemed huge and was growing steadily as I cycled away. The view from Wall churchyard was as lovely as ever, and I was joined by a very affectionate and playful young ginger cat. I tried to take his picture, but he just couldn’t be still.

It was a gorgeous ride on a lovely evening. Let’s have some more of this, please.

February 23rd – Also at Chasewater, there’s some pollution happening.

This is good pollution, however. A casual observer might stand on the waterline of the now-full lake and wonder what the froth and scum is, gently lapping the shore. It’s the side effects of Chasewater once again being host to massive numbers of Gulls, who come here to roost on the water at twilight. 

Yes, tens of thousands of birds frequent this reservoir in the evening, where they rest, loaf and bob gently in the wind. Whilst they do this, they preen. The scum is actually bird feathers, plucked during preening.

Biodegradable, they will rot away, or be gathered by other birds for nesting material. Recycled, naturally.

February 17th – The late afternoon was golden. I didn’t intend to spend 2 hours at Chasewater, but it was so gorgeous, the time just flew. And for every minute that ticked by, the light changed. Families, birders, walkers and photographers were out in this most chilly of golden hours. It was precious. My love for this place – however run-down, dilapidated or neglected, is enduring.