Friday, July 06, 2007

Tidemarks, starlings and a Mr Magoo dove

As I was going to a meeting in York on the Monday the plan for last weekend was a trip up to stay with Kay's folks in Treeton, South Yorkshire. Treeton was one of the villages partly affected by the floods last week, although fortunately Kay's family (and much of the village) is on a hill. Treeton was also one of the villages threatened by the leaking dam at Ulley, so we ditched the original plan and waited to assess the rainfall before travelling up on the Sunday.

[Since I posted this there has been aprogramme on radio 4 about the dam and country park at Ulley, one of my old fishing haunts - if you're interested you can hear it again on ].

This scuppered my original plan for a trip to try and get some close views of bearded tits at Blacktoft. Still there will be another time. I couldn't resist a quick trip half a mile down the road to Catcliffe - for those who saw it this was the village where most of the camera crews seemed to be during the floods - the one where the pub was 6 feet underwater.

Surprisingly there wasn't that much to see in the village itself. There were a few skips full of ruined furniture, but not the mess I expected, although clearly the inside of many houses was trashed.

The support teams were still out (I felt a bit voyeuristic so I didn't take other pictures), but most of the evidence for the flooding was a bit back up the road.

Catcliffe Flash is a lake that has featured in the blog before. The layby overlooking it is usually 7 or 8 feet above water level.

This time if you looked at the other side of the road you could see a clear 'tidemark' on the vegetation where the water had been at least 4 feet up - making it 12 feet above normal levels

Thankfully the forecast follow-up rain never came and we had a relatively dry couple of days.

In wildlife terms I was limited to a few shots from the house. A large group of adult and juvenile starlings were making the most of the food.

Meanwhile a ghostly imprint (we suspect a collared dove) showed that stick-on pictures to deter the birds from flying into glass are not always that successful!

There was no sign of the dove so we presume there was a happy ending - unless the sparrowhawk that may well have been the cause seized it's chance!

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