Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Chr-HESC-mas Day

Firstly, a Very Merry Christmas to you all. I sincerely hope Santa brought you something wildlife-related, even if it was simply a new tie with a Robin on it or a plastic duck for the bath.

Just before lunchtime, a break in the weather heralded a visit to the reserve to see what was about, other than a billion litres of water. Well, to be honest, it was mainly water. So here's a photographic record of the extent of the flooding (for the very good reason that if we ever have a Summer in 2013, we can look back at this and be grateful).

This is the view from the far end of the reserve, adjacent to the large Oak tree. The nearest stretch of water is the single track road, after the greenery there's the river and then it's Haversham Lake and the sailing club. Although you would be forgiven for thinking it's just one big puddle.

As usual, when the Great Ouse bursts its banks hereabouts, the reserve is the first port of call. Having topped up the security ditch, the flood water was pouring into the main lake across the "path that never was".

In the Far Paddock, the ephemeral ponds were looking rather less than ephemeral!

Alongside the paddock, parts of the hedged track were under water, but it didn't prevent us from admiring this fungi-laden branch.

Meanwhile, the view from the Far Hide back towards the centre was fairly monotonous, with only a few bits of bund vegetation visible. Admittedly, nowhere for the Lapwings and other plovers to feed, but at least it might knock back some of the weed growth. In other good news, the temporary bridge hadn't floated away, but was still inaccessible.

Water levels had stopped rising just in time, before they flooded the track between St Peter's Lake and the main lake.

The Woodland Hide may have to be re-christened the Mere Hide!

Whilst putting out a small amount of seed for the birds, I couldn't help noticing the bridge IN troubled waters.

By the time I returned to the hide, I'd already missed a Sparrowhawk, my wife kindly informed me!

But things soon calmed down and all the usual feathered suspects were still present.

Back out on the main track, this area in front of the carved bench was bone dry earlier this year and we wondered how it could possibly ever recover. Ta dah! Who would have thought it?

Happily, flood levels on the boardwalk were passable, though it didn't prevent Mrs W from proving once again that she can walk on water.

It was much the same story from the Near Hide, barely a bit of bund to be seen.

In the Near Paddock, the lake was inching ever nearer the most recent seat to be modified for horizontal bottoms.

Finally, all that water has to go somewhere. Here it is exiting the main lake via the perimeter track and flowing into Blackhorse Lake.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year and a warmer, drier, wildlife-laden 2013.

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