8 October 2016

Taylor Dam

Taylor Dam, 6 km's out of Blenheim is beautiful. There is a place to camp on the left as you drive in and although it looks like there are many great spots near the lake, you can't actually camp there.
The lake is teeming with bird life. 

The place available to camp is to the left where you can see a camper van. The road you can see circles the pond.
There were lots of swans with their young ones enjoying the pond. The male swan, called the cob, helps the female, known as a pen, to look after their babies, called cygnets until they are a year old. The young don’t spend more than one day in the nest once they hatch. If the pen is still brooding eggs, the cob will take care of any cygnets that have already hatched, leading them directly to the water. Though they can swim from birth, cygnets may sometimes ride on the backs of their parents or take shelter under their wings until they are old enough to strike out on their own.

It is normal for swans to swim with one leg tucked onto their back. People are often concerned that the leg is broken or deformed but the swan is perfectly fine. 
Swans will often stretch one of their legs whilst swimming and instead of putting it in the water, they will tuck it up onto their back. 
It has been suggested that this behaviour may play a role in helping to regulate the body temperature of the bird. The legs and feet are the only part of the swan not covered in feathers so the blood vessels are in closer contact with the air. The large surface area of the webbed foot makes it easier for heat to be transferred from the body to the air, cooling the swan. This heat exchange could also work the other way, with the feet absorbing heat from the air to warm the bird.  

The Taylor Dam is a flood protection dam and recreational reserve located to the south west of Blenheim.
Most of the year, the Taylor River only has a modest flow, and even dries up over sections of its course, however it can rise very rapidly during heavy rain. As a result, Blenheim was flooded in numerous occasions, and this possibly contributed to being named The Beaver, or Beavertown. 
In March 1963 the Marlborough Catchment Board began planning for the construction of the Taylor Dam and work took place between 1964-1965 as flood protection for Blenheim. Officially opened on 30th November 1965, the structure is the largest earth flood protection dam in New Zealand. 
Behind the dam, a small lake has formed, and provides an important habitat for waterfowl, with black swans, coots, mallard ducks, shags and other species present. Eels are also present in the lake, and brown trout have been released in the past.

Picnic tables are provided at various locations in the reserve and swings and toilet facilities are available in the north west corner of the reserve. 
Dogs are permitted at the Taylor Dam provided they are kept on a leash.

The dogs really wanted to get out and run about but I knew they'd jump into the pond and come out many.
Numerous large trees are planted around the lake, providing shade in summer, although most of the trees are introduced rather than native species. Various species of oak, pine, and willow are among those present. An area of native shrubs is located near the toilets.
To the south, upstream from the dam itself is a large flat area with mature pine trees a few minutes walk from the end of the vehicle track around the dam. This area is the former Omaka Domain recreation reserve.
To the north, the Taylor Dam reserve connects with the Taylor River Reserve which provides a walking and cycleway that extends to Riverside Park in central Blenheim.

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