Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Water, Water, Everywhere and yellow fungi.
Well, as is to be expected after the rain of the last week, the reserve is now starting to flood up quite well now, although we still have some way to go before we reach the levels, or should I say depths, of the 2008/9 winter. The view above greeted me today as I pulled up to park at the reserve barn, entry on to the grazing marsh now requires the wearing of wellie boots. The ditch either side of the gate is fed by all the water draining off the farmland alongside and has now flooded across the gateway. It's bad enough having to wear wellies but when you only have short legs like the dogs its all a bit much and although Midge was having second thoughts, Ellie showed us how to do it.
However we all got through OK and the view below shows that the water is now creeping back up the track to the front of the barn. Although the water near to the barn is only a few inches deep at the moment I was amazed as I approached it, to see minnows zipping about in it, that far away from the ditch proper.
Turning 180 degrees to begin walking round the reserve, the photo below shows what faced us (the straight lines in the middle are the track). You can just make out the white shapes of the sheep in the distance on ground that is only slightly higher and in the 2008/9 winter even that was all under water, but we're getting there.
This ditch is just behind the sheep above and runs across to the sea wall. As you can see it has now begun to flood out onto the grazing marsh. Incidentally, the bund to the left-hand side of it is where the Desert Wheatear was seen a couple of weeks ago, its obvious why it never hung around!
Getting across that ditch entailed going through this raised but still flooded gateway, which my wellies only just cleared in the middle. Midge seems to be having second thoughts, the way back looks far more appealing!
Below is the start of the "S Bend Ditch", which you can see has flooded outwards in all directions. This time last year, right through until this April, that ditch, or Stone Fleet to give its proper name, was bone dry. If previous years are anything to go by, that gateway and track will now be inaccessible until at least May next year. Oddly enough though, and despite a lengthy walk round, expectations of seeing large numbers of Lapwings and Golden Plovers on the waterlogged grazing fields, came to nothing. Clearly with the whole of Harty equally waterlogged the birds are spoilt for choice but one would of expected far larger numbers than the few dozens that we are currently experiencing. A few curlews fed in the grass while the tide was high and around 200 Brent Geese grazed alongside some Mute Swans in a flooded section but really, a dozen newly arrived Gadwall were the best thing on offer apart from Hen and Marsh Harriers.