Fringe Box



Riff Raff Diary – February 2017

Published on: 5 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 4 Feb, 2017

Riff Raff Cottage and Weir

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

by Robert Craig

January was a mixed bag weather wise, with plenty of weir adjustments required – forty seven in fact. Then of course we had the icy weather towards the end of the month.

Robert stows his tools before heading back upstream from the towpath opposite Shalford Meadows

The view from Robert’s office – not to be sniffed at

Ice breaker patrol. Rob used his motorised punt to break up thin sheets of ice so they could not damage smaller craft such as canoes.

Before the ground became too hard to work I was able to fill in an area of ponding on the towpath near Ferry Lane and intend to fill in more of these areas during the coming month.

Cut back hedging on towpath near Weir House meadow

Further downstream by Weir House meadow there was a section of hedging which was encroaching on the towpath to be cut back and heading back upstream at Stonebridge Wharf there were leaves to be raked up and cleared.

Also I finished cleaning moss from the staging on the moorings, a job which was delayed due to the moss being frozen solid!

There are shovelers on the meadows by St. Catherine’s lock at the moment.

Very distinctive with their broad shovel-like bill which they sweep sideways through shallow water straining out food, invertebrates such as snails and crustaceans and also aquatic plants and seeds.

To do this they have tiny comb-like projections along the edges of their bills. The shovelers form pairs in December and stay in pairs until late June, longer than other dabbling ducks.

Also the dabchicks are still very much in evidence diving below the icy water and popping up yards away after what seems like an eternity.

See you by the river.

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