In The Field 0

Nature notes from John Holt

The 9th of January, I will not be early with my first submission in the New Year.  December 2016 was yet again a dry and warm month, 9°+ on Christmas day – global warming, ‘humbug’.

The dry period has affected the aquifers and the river level considerably, at this time of the year I have normally taken out three of the five three-inch sluice control boards at the old mill site in Hunton.  These boards control the water level of the river up to about half way between the sluice and the bridge at Stoke Charity.  All the boards remain in position so we are missing nine inches of water level at the sluice – a lot!

As I have indicated previously, end Nov through to Feb is generally when the Brown Trout moves up the river to spawn and this generally coincides with fresh water in the river.  As of this note the fish are just beginning to move and the water is very low – heron will have a heyday.  My intent this year was to try and assist the spawning by hatching our own fry using a special Environment Agency design of hatch box where the fertilised eggs can hatch out of sight of prying, hungry eyes – time and an unpredictable spawning period has put this on hold for another year but like Christmas the period in-between seems to get shorter each year so it won’t be long before the decorations/hatch box have to go out again.

We have done a review of our Kingfisher nest boxes and succumbed to superior knowledge and purchased an example –  came on a pallet from Germany – ferro concrete, could be a design along the lines of the old bunkers – very proven.

We will be digging the trench to put it in very shortly and I hope to out the vacancy notice out before the end of Feb, watch this space.

By the time you read this the Boss and I will be in the Falkland Islands on our way to the Arctic Peninsular.  If the snow won’t come to us, we will go to the snow.  Dr David will fill in for the January update.

Image of Kingfisher from www.rspb.org.uk


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