Fringe Box



Riff Raff Diary – March 2016

Published on: 7 Mar, 2016
Updated on: 6 Mar, 2016

Riff Raff Cottage and Weir.

Riverbank tales from the local St Catherine’s lengthsman and weirkeeper

by Robert Craig

February started well with a really productive day working with the Wey Navigation Conservation Volunteers.

We spent the day clearing encroaching vegetation in Shalford Nature Reserve and at Stonebridge Wharf, a lot of it being bramble so it was good to have their help.

I was also fortunate to have some help clearing two large alder trees which I had floated round from my weir and secured outside the cottage.  The maintenance team were working at St Catherine’s Lock replacing the planking on the upstream lock gates, which had been damaged by boats not roping up properly in the lock and ramming the gates when the paddles were drawn.

The work being carried out meant that our floating excavator was present and able to lift the trees out onto the bank for me to cut up and clear.

As well as cutting back vegetation at Stonebridge, I have been getting on with any hedging required before the nesting season gets into full swing. I have been working mainly on the large hedge alongside Stonebridge car park.

There’s quite a lot to see bird-wise at the moment and just the other day I was treated to the sight of a red kite above the cottage, heading south, with the sun highlighting its rich colouring.

When it comes to birds of prey there are still plenty of buzzards to be seen and a colleague of mine even spotted a male peregrine passing low and fast near St Catherine’s Lock.

In the marshy areas there are teal and shovelers and, if you are lucky, you may catch site of a snipe zig-zagging away from you having been put up.

Just to round off here is a list of other birds present in the area: reed bunting, greenfinch, stonechat, song thrush, little egret, Egyptian geese, green sandpiper, pied and grey wagtails, greater spotted woodpecker and green woodpecker, kestrel and not forgetting the barn owl.


See you by the river.

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