Thursday, 18 August 2011

Pitter, Patter, Pitter, Pat

Bird News: Ibsley Water - the red-crested pochard reported, c500 sand martin 200+ swallow and at least 7 swift.
Rockford Lake - a green sandpiper, 2 summer plumage turnstone and 9 common tern.
The real news of the day was nothing to do with wildlife though. It was Thursday so it was volunteer day and did it rain! There was a little light rain early on but it really got going at about 09:45 and by early afternoon we had over 40mm and nearer 45 by the end of the day. Michelle had an evening event planned for today, people phoned to see if it was going ahead, yes we said, the rain was stopping. This was true enough, but the Dockens Water continued to rise and rise. In the late afternoon I went to close the hides and took the pictures below, the first is not the Dockens Water, but the path beside it, just negotiable in wellies.
The path then goes into the alder carr, I had to turn back, no chance of getting through without waders, the logs are all floating.
The Ivy silt pond had filled and was powering into the lake, ruining any chance of getting the work done on the lake shore that I had planned for this autumn. The boardwalk was south of the hide was under water and near the bridge the huge stag-headed oak had fallen, completely blocking the path and presenting a massive clearance job.
I then thought I had better go and see if we could get out of the reserve, the answer was just, so Michelle phoned round the people booked on the evening activity to say it was off, due to flooding and we beat a retreat. The view below is of the Dockens flooding across Ellingham Drove, it may not look much but the water across the road is the river flowing across and off into the main car park which was just a huge lake.
I expect the water level will have continued to rise for an hour or two more so it would have been very unwise to have stayed, we could still be there. It was certainly the biggest flood I have seen on the reserve and it has managed to wreck my work plans for the autumn. When the water drops tomorrow I expect we will find more that needs doing as well, the unpredictability of outdoor working.

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