Nature notes from John Holt
December the 2nd and the weather men have indicated that 2014 has been the warmest year since records began. As this follows probably one of the wettest winters where we saw flooding in the valley and surrounding villages, it is interesting that the warm year has done little to reduce the water table. This would indicate the Aquifers have retained a lot of water and any rain now will move us once again towards flooding – the water meadow opposite our cottage has standing water on it already and the river is full.
For the record our rain men recorded 1,231mm of rain in Stoke Charity in the 12 months to November, 188.75mm in Alresford for November, 132.5mm in Sutton Scotney for November – a very wet month. Thank you Tim, Peter and Clinton.
There is a group of volunteers meeting every two weeks in Sutton Scotney to monitor and help if possible to warn of and mitigate flood damage should it arrive again; if you are affected or would like to help or receive information please call myself on 01962 760778. Leave a message if there is no answer.
Back to the river – already running high and clearing the gravel, timing just right as the brown trout are moving up the river to spawn and there are several small redds already.
The Heron (pictured) will be busy ambushing the trout as the fish are reluctant to move once they get on a redd – watch for the Heron to be hunting at night especially in the open water stretches on clears nights with moonlight.
A pair of Woodcock were seen on the local shoot at Stoke Charity, they are probably on their way to France and the African coast.
The Field Fares and Redwings are already here stripping the berries off the bushes before the farmers start hedging. All these birds are migratory mainly from Scandinavia but the Woodcock as far away as Russia. The shoot by the way has a ban on shooting the Woodcock where it is a favourite quarry with others – well done the shoot.
Hope you have had a great Christmas and wish you all well for the New Year – how fast they go by now.
Image of Heron from www.rspb.org.uk