Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas up North

Despite the impending flood waters today was a great showing on the reserve particularly on North Marsh.  Here the otter mum and cub showed often through the day, kingfisher made a welcome return fishing again in front of the hide (probably returning to the old faithful in light of the floods).  Little egret flew past, coming from Hempholme Meadow where it had been feeding on the flooded ridges earlier.  To cap it all 8 waxwings briefly alighted there too. 

Elsewhere marsh harrier, common buzzard, peregrine falcon and sparrowhawk all reported on site.  Lesser redpoll, treecreeper and bullfinch in the woods, barn owl north scrub, 70 curlew on Watton NR.  6 pintail and a red-head smew on D res with 2 red-head goosander (Erich has some nice shots on his blog here as does Martin) to finish along with mediterranean gull on the roost; masses of gulls enjoying the invertebrates flushed out of Decoy fields:
On January the 1st we'll be holding a year listing event as most years - the objective being to see the maximum number of species in one day - a great way to start off your 2013 year list! We'll be undertaking two guided walks - one at 10:00 and another at 13:30 to try and surpass 72 recorded in 2009.  This is part of a series of events we'll be staging this year - details to come on the events page soon...

As ever though it would seem rude not to record the exceptional events - Watton Beck still overflowing onto the Carrs this morning:
Barmston Drain at the main entrance:
Further downstream looking over it towards Easingwold Farm:
And the rear of Watton NR:
The pits themselves - again breached:
South Marsh East - higher than its been at the end of the last 5 winters despite being drained down until 3 weeks ago:
The over top was still flowing at 10:00 this morning:
The river no different still hovering at 3.84 at the weir.  It would seem this is really the maximum height - any more and it just goes over the tops of the defences rather than travelling through the weir:
Still jets of water from the aqueduct retaining wall:
Standingholme at 10:00 in the wind - a field of white horses but not as one would expect:
And neighbouring Hempholme Meadow tonight:
Standingholme again at last light - still getting deeper:
And the over top - a consensus from the volunteer team being that it was flowing faster at 16:00:
Still a flood warning out on the EA site.  Hopefully a drier spell will give it chance to recover to an extent.

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to all our readers! And an opportunity to say a big thank you to the team of volunteers and visitors that have contributed so much to the running and enjoyment of the reserve this year.