By rights today, or the morning at least, should have been glorious because it is Thursday and volunteering day and Bob has maintained for at least the last 12 months, that it does not rain when the conservation volunteers are in. Sadly the good luck did not hold and it clearly is Bob that is blessed as he is still away and the sun most certainly did not shine!
It was very wet - 24mm over the last 2 hours, which is by no means a record, but more rain than we've had in one go for a little while and in stark contrast to the previous few days. I was soaked by the time I'd opened up - and was not surprised when it did not appear that any volunteers were going to arrive.
Hats off then to Tony and Jackie who did turn up and show willing! Tony gave up after a cup of tea and went back home to do some chores when no one else showed, but Jackie stayed on to clean three of the hides and was rewarded with a nature reserve pretty much all to herself and fantastic views of a kingfisher. The last bit of ragwort on the Ibsley Water peninsula remains.
Today should have been a family river dipping event but the high rainfall scuppered these plans too - numbers dropped from 26 to 5 people and with the river in spate, despite the rain having stopped a couple of hours earlier, we pond dipped instead.
A few more brave souls did venture out this afternoon when the rain had stopped and I had reports of the black necked grebe still on the western shore of Ibsley Water. I saw water rail again from Ivy North Hide today and although I have not seen the chick that Bob saw I think I have seen a water rail at least once every day this week - always around, at one end or the other, of the cleared cutting through the reed bed.
Playdays again tomorrow, so the centre car parking will once more be reserved for disabled visitors, or parents picking up/dropping off their children.