Friday, 30 November 2012

An ice breaker

A change of picture from floods to ice today; so what would be breaking through it at 8:30 this morning on North Marsh?:
Our otters - an emerging view of this years still very young cubs in some outstanding pictures by Darren Smith:
A little later appeared presumably mum - not much else to say but some excellent photos and a great reward for all the teams efforts around site:

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A whole centimetre

Was the amount by which the river had dropped at the weir in the last 48 hours; 3.79 metres here at 16:15 this evening:
There was a marked difference in the overflow though - only a couple of smaller trickles today although there were still some unsettling gurglings from within the bank:

Standingholme and Stuncheonhill:

Standingholme across the drain:

Hempholme Meadows which is now virtually submerged; the original management prescription was to have the bottom of the furrows inundated for 10 days this winter - but we think this winter it'll be at least that! A plus is that it will kill off many of the dry land loving 'weed' species like creeping thistle and nettle - a shame that many of the invertebrates enjoying the cow dung will also have been lost too:

South Marsh East and West do not look much different having both being low anyway - whether we'll get the coarse aggregate from the tunneling programme on there now is another issue.  One area that had changed was Watton NR; the bund has finally been overtopped and breached into the pits - it doesn't look immediately different until you realise the seasonal ponds are now part of the waterbody:

7 redshank and 19 curlew on today.  The sand martin colony is now an island and the willow island in the northern pit is now only discernible by the tips of the trees:
A nice group of 300 or so golden plover over wilfholme put up by a distant peregrine falcon:

But work never stops even amongst the floods; Mike tending the fire in South Scrub.  We've been clearing around some of the small stands of blackthorn to give them room to grow and expand - this diversifies the hawthorn monopoly and creates great dense nesting habitat for turtle dove and bullfinch next year:

Reserve Walk this Saturday the 1st at 10am - all welcome.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

water everywhere, but not a spot to fish...

The river appears to have dropped a bit through the day; it was still running at 3.84 this morning:

The drain seems to have risen in the night though into surrounding fields - river on the road at Watton:

Watton Carrs:

Easingwold Farm:

Barmston Drain from the access road bridge:

Decoy fields from D res:

Standingholme from the Hempholme road:

Hempholme Meadow:

The overtop still flowing at Bethell's bridge:

Perhaps more worrying were the springs jetting up from the base of the defense:
Unfortunately some oil or diesel on the main river:
 Scurf dyke overflowing into Barmston Drain:

At least by 4pm the level had dropped down to 3.80 - so hopefully past the worst?:
 But if you're a kingfisher is this a blessing or not?:
Certainly plenty of places to hunt; but where?:

Monday, 26 November 2012

Drove a bewick to the levee

The River Hull overtopped its banks this morning just north of Tophill Low between Hempholme Lock and Bethell's Swing Bridge - a sizable flow into Barmston Drain and over into Struncheonhill ponds:

And in full HD here!:
The river at the weir reached 3.85 metres at lunchtime - up 26cm from yesterday morning:
Barmston drain is very full and has comprehensively flooded the low fields around Standingholme:

Hempholme Meadow on the other hand is now substantially lower than both the drain and river so the non return valves seem to be working.  If it stopped like this it would be ideal for winter - a few mallard were enjoying it today:

There is still a foot or so to go before the drain and Watton NR join:

But one should always look on the bright side - if you're a weird buzzard that's the case.  The individual we mentioned yesterday was on the edge of Standingholme lake - presumably picking up worms and rodents:

It has the look of a common buzzard to me - but I have not seen it in flight.  'Son of' the white buzzard has been mentioned - but all thoughts are welcome.  Certainly not welcomed by the local crow:

However a more certain good bird was a bewick's swan which flew around Hempholme Meadow calling at 15:00 - called by Denice Coverdale and a Tophill tick for me and I think the first in at least 5 years.  A further 4 have apparently been seen just down river at Aike.

The over top was still going at 16:45 this evening:

There is still a flood warning on the EA floodline site tonight.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Flushed out

As widely reported plenty of water about today - not so many folk about, so not many sightings to report with the exception of a 'buzzard with long wings and a white tail base around Decoy Woods / Angram Farm.  The white common buzzard is well documented and fits this description regularly, but a few of the regulars think there is something interesting in this one - but it needs some more investigation yet...  Waxwing on the road yesterday morning with the first short-eared owl of winter seen last night.  Peregrine over North Marsh and plenty of little grebes around Hempholme Lock.

Worth a look around the reserve and river though to see the unfolding events.  This was the river Hull at Hempholme at 10:30 this morning - the weir long gone and water nearly over the lock gates:

Beverley and Barmston Drain is well up - and now higher than some of the surrounding fields:

Including Hempholme Meadow - the flap valves restrict flow into the meadow though there is still water coming in from Barmston Drain:

It can't lose the water coming in from North Marsh though and the level by 15:00 was continuing to increase:

Not good news if you're a rodent - but it makes up for the rain if you're a barn owl - it can just sit on the edge and wait for the evacuees:

We've had other reports of it perched on this post - so if you're after some good shots of a barn owl the Angus McBean hide may be your place.  Further down river the otter was not too put off either - trail over the bank:
And spraints:

Baswick's sheep were keeping a keen eye on the river:
In places the river was around 30cm from over topping the defences:

It should be said though that we have seen the river even higher than this before - so it is not entirely unprecendented:

The Marie Celeste (it's been there for a while so we need not worry about its occupant!):

Watton Beck at Wilfholme:

The Environment Agency doing a sterling job clearing weed from the intake screens at Wilfholme pump house:
Enabling untold volumes to be discharged from Barmston Drain into the river:

Watton NR filling rapidly - not quite one with the drain as yet:

A trip back to Hempholme at last light showed a nice kestrel hunting D res:

With this sparrowhawk taken yesterday:

After 5 hours the river had risen by a further 14cm - so we'll see what the coming hours rainfall do.

There is a flood alert out for the river Hull upper catchment at the time of writing - details on the EA floodline site here.
Certainly this river had also appeared over the road at Watton after the rain had stopped.

Watton Beck at the A164 looking relatively tame at last light:
What will it look like tomorrow night?