Friday, 31 July 2020

It's The Pits

Paxton Pits Nature Reserve follows the same pattern as many in this area: 
   - riverside sand and gravel beds that were exploited for use in building.
   - the exhausted pits soon fill with water to form lakes.
   - wildlife moves in, birds and fish find the lakes and trees and plants take over the abandoned land.
   - formal recognition as a site for nature leads to provision of paths and facilities such as bird hides, a car park and small visitor centre. Often funding is aided by the gravel extraction company who wish to improve their public image as they exploit other nearby resources.

Here are just a few photos from our visit yesterday:

Heronry South Lake
with a Cormorant flying low over the water.
The trees in the background are used as a nesting site by the cormorants,
you can see they are "decorated" with the birds droppings.

I'm reasonably confident that this is a Large Skipper butterfly.
Despite its name it's not very big at all.
It's quite a common butterfly, but one that passes under the radar of many people.

The Sailing Lake
Despite being used for sailing it's a good place to see wildlife, 
especially its island and the woodland surrounding three sides of the lake.

Summer skies.

Part of the site is still occupied by a sand and gravel works.
It's not obvious from most paths on the reserve and doesn't seem
to bother the wildlife.

Cloudy Lake.
It's rather larger than it appears here.

Crown Vetch
This robust plant has taken hold along the haulage road used by the gravel lorries.
It's not native to these shores, having been introduced from
 the Mediterranean countries as a garden plant.
It's considered an invasive species in many US states,
but is not covered by legislation here.

A Mute Swan giving me the "evil eye"
on the Island Pit.

Water Lilies on Rudd Lake.

Gatekeeper butterfly.

Purple Loosestrife

Hayling Lake.
There are many old pits in the complex - more than I've mentioned here -
and they are managed for many different uses.
This particular pit is popular with anglers.

Time for some Friday music.
This has been on my playlist for a while now.
Birds Of Chicago are led by JT Nero and Allison Russell (the couple on the right in the video).
Joining them are guitarist Steve Dawson and
Rhiannon Giddens on banjo and vocals.

Take care.


  1. Hi John - stunning 'Pits' photos ... gorgeously clear ... you certainly live in a wonderful part of the world ... I hope your trip out today will be lovely today too ... take care - Hilary
    PS - thoroughly enjoying your Friday Music ... a wonderful listen ...

  2. When I last visited Britain I was impressed by the restoration of old quarries and visited a few of them. Nature really had recovered quite well.

  3. It is amazing how nature fills the spaces we create if we but give her time.

  4. Looks to have a fantastic mix of wild life in all its forms John. Not a sign of anyone else around apart from at the working quarry - and its good that everything has got used to that. Like the Friday music too.

  5. It is wonderful how nature works its way into the abandoned pits.

  6. I love how nature has reclaimed this space. It is so beautiful there. It gives me hope.
    I so love the music you posted. I am definitely adding that to my playlist. Thank you for that.

  7. That skipper was striking on the purple flower, John, and it looked like thistle but darker then I've seen it. I also liked the gatekeeper butterfly as this was the first time view for me. I have heard that swans can be quite nasty so keeping clear might be a good idea.

  8. Love the photo of the water lilies on Rudd Lake.

  9. It is good to see the pits being taken over by nature. Enjoyed the music.

  10. I love the way nature reclaims it's rightful place John, lots of opportunities for bird watching here I should think 💜

  11. Such a beautiful place, it's hard to image there's a sand and gravel quarry nearby. Love the butterfly images you captured!

  12. Gorgeous plants! That Sailing Lake looked very inviting. Made me want to jump right in. I love seeing Nature reclaiming what was theirs before man came in and plundered. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  13. Great photos, love the water lillies:)

  14. Especially lovely photos. The texture of the butterflies' wings is wonderful.

  15. That’s a common thing in the Midwest US also — to reclaim gravel pits and restore habitat. Wherem I was growing up a popular beach had been created around at the site of an old gravel pit. The water was clear, icy cold, and a favorite place to hang out on a hot summer day. The water lilies in your photo are beautiful. Our native water lilies are just white.

  16. Awesome photos, places. Living in a desert clime, the wetlands are near the ocean, but not with such flowers. Calif. is like that. But, invasive species of all kinds are.

  17. Such richness of flora and fauna. I could spend many happy hours exploring there.

  18. This is a place I would love to makes me think of the strip pit area I like to go to. Only the strip pit area is privately owned, and No Trespassing signs are everywhere.

  19. Beautiful photos, and nice to hear nature is reclaiming the land, like it should.

  20. No matter the landscape, there is always some kind of plant or animal or bird that can settle in it. The lakes look lovely.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).