Thursday, 7 September 2017

Some things just ain't changing

It's really quiet on the reserve at the moment, small parties of Swallows still go through at speed, heading south and occasionally a Chiff Chaff works it's way through the willows looking for insects. Stopping to pass the time of day with the odd wildfowlers as they come back along the sea wall inevitably turns to the same old subject - isn't it bloody dry out here!
Take this through pipe which allows the ditches either side of the crossing to be at the same level, the water level should be at or above the pipe but it's no where to be seen.


In 31 years of being involved with the reserve I've never seen this ditch dry out but it's looking likely that I will this year.

I've featured this fleet before, it snakes it's way for several hundred yards through the middle of the reserve and is normally where most of the wildfowl and waders can be found, it's currently bone dry and hard.

 And the shallow lake in the Flood Field remains steadfastly bone dry as well, as is the whole field.

 Alongside the Flood Field is the pump house that can be used to pump water from the ditch into the field but you will notice that the end of the pump hose is sitting above the couple of inches left in the ditch.

So, after around eighteen months of this dry weather, we can only hope for a wet winter, it will happen, it's just when?
In the meantime, look at this distant shot of two rabbits alongside their burrows, a normal brown one and a jet black one. Around 15/20 years ago the black ones were a fairly common sight on the reserve, breeding naturally in that colour but they have become much rarer nowadays. Breeding in that colour has some fancy scientific explanation but I can't recall what it is.

10 comments:

  1. Derek; I hail from the Midlands and was always taught that war and pestilence would come upon you if you shot a black rabbit. Was the same superstition to be found in this part of the country?

    Colin

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  2. I believe the term for your rabbit's condition is melanism - thus the animal is melanistic! The over production of melanine pigment is quite widespread throughout the animal kingdom apparently.
    Growing up in Hertfordshire, there was a population of "black" Grey Squirrels in Ashridge Forest, between Ringshall and Ivanhoe Beacon. Don't know if they're still present as I haven't been back there in decades. As for rain; we'll get some at some time and then we'll all be moaning about mud and lack of sunshine - it's what us English do best - talk about the weather! Dyl

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    1. That's it Dylan, knew somebody would know. Pretty much guaranteed we'll have a moan about wet weather this winter.

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  3. Heartbreakingly dry, Derek. I sure hope you have a wet winter.

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    1. We haven't had a proper wet winter for a few years now Wilma

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  4. I always thought black ones occurred when somebody let their pet rabbit go. We do get sandy ones from time to time - a lot and then they gradually die out again - I always wonder if they are easier for the fox to spot.
    Your dry weather is catastrophic really isn't it? We have had such a lot of wet weather here it is hard to imagine that you - also in the East - have suffered so much.

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  5. When I first encountered the black ones I thought the same Weave, but as Dylan explained, they are a natural product.

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  6. I've never seen a black rabbit outside of a pet shop.

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  7. Thanks for the nature reserve update Derek. One day the rain will come. Surely...

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  8. I love your artwork and follow you pots this very minute!



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