Friday, 21 December 2012

Looks like the Mayans weren't far wrong!

Even a relatively small amount of rain last night was enough to tip the balance on the river Hull which is already swollen by emerging spring water from the wolds aquifer - a supply which takes 3 months to permeate through; so a scenario likely to be repeated all winter. 

The first note of alarm came a few miles up the road from Tophill - this is Watton Beck near the free range chicken farm - water flowing over the top of the banks and flooding surrounding fields:
Beverley and Barmston drain has been rising through the day - up 4" in 2 hours earlier today - again flooding Standingholme Fields:
Hempholme after nearly drying out is again re-filling - the mucky brown water flowing in from Barmston Drain yet again:
There was a worrying trickle of water around Hempholme pump house and these fissures springing out of a retaining wall into Barmston Drain (the defences narrowest point) - they had subsided by 2pm so we presume that it was rain water pressure rather than river water?:
Further up the river was again overtopping the banks - seemingly worse than 3 weeks ago with an audible roar from a few hundred yards away:
With further gurglings and wellings at the base of the defence:
There is a flood warning again out for the area - details here.  We'll see how the situation fares in tomorrows rain - but it is looking a bit dicey as if the river cuts through the bank there will be little to stop it filling the area from Tophill to Watton Abbey...

On a brighter note - we have a smew! At long last it was picked up on Watton Nature Reserve by Gordon and Wendy Wright on Saturday (though Tony McLean had apparently glimpsed one earlier).  We've also had the bittern turn up on the WeBS count - Eric Clubley flushing one from the river bank near North Marsh. 

Another seasonal year tick that's always good value are the woodcock - found again on Sunday under the wildlife centre hedge - a very grainy shot here of one of two:

They can usually be found all winter here and we've even cleaned the wildlife centre window for one last time!  Other birds of the week have included mediterranean gull and lesser redpoll.

After all the excitement otter has also been seen again - sprainting outside North Marsh on Sunday, and covertly swimming past on Tuesday morning.  Thanks to Tony Simpson - the third man in the hide when Steve and Roy also got their cracking shots in the last post - so here is another excellent angle:
Tony also snapped this mole outside the hide the other week - something a bit different:
And finally thanks to Roy Vincent for this delightful footage of the otters on the ice - playing hide and seek:
Finally a few more days for entries in the 2013 membership card competition:
The rules are one per person and must have been taken at Tophill in the last year. Remember the image needs to work on a credit card size and entries in by the 31st of December. The winner gets a years membership - shortlisting by the reserve team and judging by vote in the YWS Land and Planning team - best of luck!