Still wet and getting wetter!

*TERN HIDE, TERN HIDE CAR PARK AND GOOSANDER HIDE ARE ALL CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE*

There had been a lot of rain over night so I was amazed to find that Tern Hide car park was actually wadeable (in wellies) when I arrived this morning. It didn’t cross my mind to open up the car park at all as, as you can tell from the photo below, it was still pretty wet, but I did dither a bit over whether or not to open up the hide. In the end I erred on the side of caution and didn’t open it and as I write this at about 3pm this afternoon, it was the right choice to make!

A (relatively) dry car park first thing today!

A (relatively) dry car park first thing today!

Although I didn’t see bittern this morning, bittern were seen throughout the day by those few visitors to brave the weather and the great white egret was very obliging too – him I did see when I opened up:

Great white doing its best to lurk like a bittern in the reeds but failing miserably at the whole camouflage thing!

Great white doing its best to lurk like a bittern in the reeds but failing miserably at the whole camouflage thing!

However the main news of the day really does have to be the rain and its affects on the Dockens Water. I headed out armed with loppers and bow-saw to tackle the willows and brambles leaning ever heavier over many of the footpaths and watched the river getting higher and higher throughout the day:

Ellingham Drove not long after the Dockens Water started flowing along it again this afternoon - hopefully the dead hedge only just re-instated on Thursday stands up to it this time!

Ellingham Drove not long after the Dockens Water started flowing along it again this afternoon – hopefully the dead hedge only just re-instated on Thursday stands up to it this time!

The old public footpath footbridge over the Dockens Water - actually this was underwater less than an hour after taking the picture.

The old public footpath footbridge over the Dockens Water – actually this was underwater less than an hour after taking the picture.

Footpath shortly after the Dockens Water flooded over it again - it will be even higher now! Please do take care along the river at the moment - even on the footpaths there can be deceptively deep sections, the footpath edge is not always very clear and the river can be flowing at a fair lick in places too.

Footpath shortly after the Dockens Water flooded over it again – it will be even higher now! Please do take care along the river at the moment – even on the footpaths there can be deceptively deep sections, the footpath edge is not always very clear and the river can be flowing at a fair lick in places too.

We are not faring very well with hides over Ibsley Water way at the moment – not only is Tern Hide currently closed due to flooding, Goosander Hide is also closed, and has been since Monday, due to a broken lock which unfortunately has sheared off (we are not suspecting foul play!). A locksmith is attending to it but it is a somewhat specialist lock that will require ordering in so it will be closed for at least a little while yet.

Lapwing Hide, for the moment at least, is open, but I was rather disappointed to  find that someone had somewhat foolishly/selfishly left one of the windows open:

It should go without saying, but please do close hide windows before you leave!

It should go without saying, but please do close hide windows before you leave!

The gloomy and wet weather did not make for the best bird watching, but it was nice to see a small flock of redwing feeding in the grass to the south of the hide and there certainly were plenty of wildfowl to peer at through rain spattered binoculars – including pintail, goldeneye, wigeon, gadwall, goosander, gadwall and tufted duck:

Ibsley Water

Ibsley Water (the “dots” at the mouth of the bay are birds!)

Ibsley Water is remarkably high at the moment – the little spit that normally sits out in front of Lapwing Hide is now completely submerged, and the perches won’t be long before they are also under:

No wigeon grazing here now!

No wigeon grazing here now!

Outside Lapwing Hide the upper path through the reedbeds is now completely underwater. Never one to take a chance if I don’t have to, fortunately I had volunteer Jacki with me this morning and could send her out to test the depth. She didn’t go too far!

Don't try this!

Don’t try this!

Heading back to "dry land"

Heading back to “dry land”

The rain did finally stop at about 3.15pm – by which time we had had a reasonably significant rainfall of about 22mm since yesterday:

Todays rainfall

Todays rainfall

By no means a record, it is still a fair amount on top of what has already come and what is still forecast to come – and more than enough to get the river well up. By the end of the day rain fall alone had significantly “topped” up the flooding in Tern Hide car park and with the vast majority of Ellingham Drove underwater and a lag time of 2-3 hours between rain falling on the Forest and reaching the reserve via the Dockens Water it won’t be long until this trickle of river water on the approach to the footpath/kissing gates to Tern Hide becomes more of a steady torrent and I am quite happy that I made the right call in keeping Tern Hide closed today! And looking at the weather forecast, don’t expect it to be open again for a few days either!

Not far to the car park now...

Not far from the river to the car park now…

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