Monday, 27 February 2017

Baihe Reservoir: Pump Slope & Eagles

Somehow I dragged myself out of bed early this morning and, after the usual necessities, drove back up to Baihe reservoir near the border with Chiayi county this time with the intent of heading over to the reservoir's northern side and getting a look at what has been happening in an obscured cul-de-sac north-east from the dam's northern point where the new sluiceway is being constructed. The weather was not as bright as it had been yesterday with the sun partially obscured by a dense layer of grey cloud all morning, and although the air was also somewhat dank and humid, the strong winds which had been a nuisance yesterday had now dissipated. That made the weather good for driving, but not so good for photography...

Although I saw a lot more birds today than yesterday, they remained for the most part far out of the range of my 300mm lens. There were only two exceptions and this was moment - captured from about fifteen meters away, was one of them.
I had hoped to close the distance some more, but this Crested Serpent Eagle had other ideas.

This was what I had came to see; on the other side of that slope is the northern end of the Baihe dam and the construction site for the new sluiceway. I had wondered what exactly the engineers had been doing down in this corner and now I know; they set up a pump and generator with a pipeline over to the other side to pump water out of the reservoir to continue feeding the irrigation outlet as the normal passageways are (presumably) blocked up by sediments.
Close up shot with the black pipe draped over the side of the pontoon whilst held in place by a cable on a winch. The green boxes in the background are the generators and the black drum will probably be diesel. What the rusted metal float is for to the right of the pipeline's pontoon I am not sure.
The problem: the sediments from the Baihe river have now extended so far that the entire corridor between the north-west and south-west of the reservoir is clogged up and blocked; water no longer flows freely between the two areas. Four years ago I took a boat through here, but that is no longer possible now. After the new sluiceway is eventually completed, all of this sediment will have to be excavated and removed from the reservoir.
This is what happens; the sediment build up continues for so long that plants begin to grow on top of it, making it a permanent feature.
Looking back into the as yet unspoiled northern section of Baihe reservoir. If no attempt had been made to arrest the sedimentation creep, then in another five or six years this area would start to turn into a muddy swamp too.
The other exception to my attempt to photograph the raptors; I caught this eagle just as I was rounding my last bend in the reservoir to go home. He's perched in the tree eating what I think is either a lizard or a snake (zooming in close, you can get some idea but the resolution becomes poor).
I tried to close the distance a bit more, but this was as close as he'd let me get. He flew into a denser nearby tree where I could no longer see him. Shooting from the boat is very difficult.

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