Saturday, 5 December 2015

Wet and Windy!

Sometimes you just fancy a bit of fresh air don't you? So off I went, camera and binoculars in hand, despite the weather forecast. You can always find something interesting at Cromwell Bottom even on a day like this, so here's what there was....

We don't often see the river gauge this high

As I walked upstream to the weir I saw 4 goosander frantically battling the current, but looking quite comical as they "swam" backwards down the channel.

We don't often see the weir running so fast either

Onwards to the newly excavated ponds...... Visitors may not realise just how much work has gone into this project already but its making a massive difference to the prospects for pond dipping next year. The ponds are now about 4ft deep in places and very muddy at present. Over winter they will settle and clear if we can avoid disturbing the water as much as possible and all the seeds, roots, eggs and hibernating pondlife will gradually reappear. When weather permits we will put some information there about the project. 

By June this year the ponds had dried out

What a difference! There are now 2 ponds, with an island in the lower one and an overflow to carry water out towards Tag Cut

Not surprisingly there were very few birds around. They were avoiding the rising winds I guess. Not me! I pushed onwards to the bird feeding area and found a couple of magpies raiding the peanuts, and a loyal robin on the table.

Roll on Christmas?

The fungus on the stump looks really bright in the rain

How deep is the hole on the peanut stump?
Roughly half a squirrel deep!

As I walked back over the canal bridge to the car park I spotted the goosanders enjoying a more sheltered stretch of water on the Calder & Hebble and decided they had the best idea, so headed back home for a nice cup of tea.
Won't it be great when we can open up the cabin regualrly for warm drinks!


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Going to scout my local waters for goosander on my next off shift, I think.

Margaret C - birdbox said...

Great - I hope they are having an easier time than ours Simon!

Rowaddy said...

I also saw the goosander at Cromwell this morning but wasn't sure what they were, so thank you for identifying them.

Margaret C - birdbox said...

Here is my tried and tested method.... More streamlined than a duck - shorter neck than a great çrested grebe? Must be a goosander! Especially if some are green/white and some are brown/white. Works for me! Dont tell the "proper" birders though....

B.Nield said...

Could have been "Smew" !!!! lol.
Yes goosanders have been reported all over Cromwell & the canal recently - I heard they were quite approachable on the Canal this weekend!
BTW, A couple of weeks ago, that Depth gauge wasn't visible at all, the river was at the top of the banks & had overflowed between Kissing Gate & Weir, but you couldn't see a weir that day it was flat right down the river. It was no more than 3ft from the underside of footbridge, this was the highest any visitor that day had EVER seen it.

Allan said...

Hopefully it won't be too long now before the Cabin and toilets are available to all. Lots of birds at the Cabin feeders today when I went down for an hour (to empty the dog bin). There was a visit from a female Sparrowhawk, displaying what an amazing arial ambush preditor it is.