Monday, 18 June 2007

Not a dove, but a coot with a twig...

The flood waters have begun to recede. This is at Hemlingford Bridge over the River Tame near the village of Kingsbury. The view shown was previously under more than 6 ft of water as far as the houses in the distance. Not far from here is Kingsbury water park, a wildlife sanctuary and leisure destination. Originally a gravel quarry, the workings have been allowed to fill with water and naturalise. Most of the paths were still flooded, and there were huge puddles everywhere. The ground was littered with the pale slimy corpses of thousands of drowned earthworms and you had to pick your way carefully through so as to not slip on them!
The puddles seemed to be rippling and on closer inspection I realised that they were teaming with leeches! There were also fish, mainly Perch. I rescued as many as I could, throwing them into a stream that headed for the Tame, but there were too many to save every one.

What is it with the coconuts???! Whenever I'm kayaking and come across a bank with debris, there is always at least one coconut! It's not as if this is the Caribbean. They obviously come from upstream, but where?!

As I ventured further into the flood zone I began to notice a really bad smell.....Then I realised. There were dead animals everywhere! Mainly mice and rabbits, but birds and squirrels too.

It was mostly young rabbits that had drowned. The crows had had a go at many of them and now the sun was out the stench was awful.
On some of the more isolated trees you could see a tide line, and above that the bark was stripped clean. I can only presume that this is where squirrels have become trapped and have been forced to eat anything that they could find.

Many of the pools are used for sailing, jet skiing and power boating. This is where the sailing boats are stored on the bank mounted on trailers....Empty, not one left. I spoke to a guy from the club house and he told me that the waters had been so high that they had floated off, trailers and all. Some had ended up in other pools, some in the river or left high and dry in fields and several had made it as far as the M42 motorway 2 miles away!

The owner of this powerboat had been lucky. I spotted it far off, half on and half off one of the little islands of one of the many pools. Not sure whether it is attached to the trailer still!

Tired and despondent I plodded back to the car along what little was left of the road. All the death and destruction can get you down...

....but then this little chap cheered me up. He/she wasn't giving up, there was a new nest to be built and a new life to be made. Good for him/!


Lesley said...

I am glad to hear that it is starting to recede.

Sharon said...

How sad. Thanks for saving some of the Perches... I would have done the same. The ducky at the end is proof life goes on!