Sunday, 5 January 2014

Water Everywhere

It was a real treat to wake up this morning pre-dawn and note for once that the world outside was both wind and rain free, stars were in the sky and a hard frost had descended. I left for the reserve just as the first fingers of light were beginning to appear in the eastern sky.
Arriving at the reserve barn in the half light and pulling on the dreaded but unfortunately necessary wellies, the task then begins of trying to get across the reserve to the sea wall without any bootfuls of water. This is how the gateway by the barn looked in October.

 And this is what greeted me this morning, the water comes to with half an inch of the top of my wellies.

After negotiating that deep water, this is then the view of the grazing marsh and route across to the sea wall, on the sky-line to the left you can just make out the black dot of the sea wall hide.

By using experience from previous winter floods it is just possible to pick a way across the flooding and end up at the sea wall but it's getting deeper by the day and poor little short-legged Ellie has to do quite a bit of swimming.

This the view of the Flood Field from the sea wall hide. It's beginning to live up to it's name but still has some way to go to get as flooded as last January. This morning, as it is most days, it was full of geese - around 120 White-fronted and 240 Greylag. As they regularly got up and noisily flew round they made quite a spectacular sight in the early morning sunlight.

These two local wildfowlers were returning back empty-handed along the sea wall against the dawn sky. I had a chat with them before they left and they said that despite the number of geese on the reserve, very few are flighting over the sea wall and that coupled with the low duck numbers on the reserve looks like making it a very poor shooting season this winter.

These few Mallard pretty much summed up the duck numbers this morning.

An example of how cattle and gateways don't mix on a very wet reserve, making walking round quite arduous at times. Fortunately the cattle were all taken off a few days ago and will spend the next few months in dryer stock pens as they start calving.

With the sun now starting to come above the horizon it began to light up the bellies of these Greylag Geese and they passed overhead.

 Finally, these last two photos of the same grazing meadow show the extent of the flooding. Three weeks ago it was a well grassed meadow containing grazing cattle and now, all that remains is the red, cattle feeding bin.


  1. No doubt in a few months we will be in a drought situation. I've got my canoe ready for work tomorrow!

  2. Dead right Marc. Same situation last winter and by August we were screaming out for some rain.

  3. Even though the reserve is under so much water Derek the birdlife certainly seem to be enjoying it with large numbers of geese and amazing counts of Curlew on the flooded fields.

  4. That's true Mike, though there is a surprising lack of Golden Plover, despite conditions being perfect for them.