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Riff Raff Diary – March 2017

Published on: 8 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 8 Mar, 2017

Riff Raff Cottage and Weir

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

by Robert Craig

For me the last few weeks have been mainly about attending to weir keeping duties, although just to make things more interesting a large fallen alder tree speared my weir and various branches built up around it.

With the help of a colleague I was able to clear most of the smaller stuff and we managed to secure the tree having floated it away from the weir gates. The tree has now been lifted out by our floating excavator – more firewood for the wood store.

Between weir keeping duties I’ve been able to continue with some more bank repairs along the towpath. Following the strong winds of February 23 and 24 I walked the length to inspect trees and look for any damage. I was lucky, there were only three small trees down on my length and all three had fallen away from the towpath and navigation.

There are signs of spring along the river now with a sea of crocuses in Herondels garden near Ferry Lane and primroses in flower on the Railway Line Walk. I have also seen some birds gathering nesting material.

On the bird front I have seen a pair of Egyptian geese at Stonebridge and St Catherine’s lately. There have been greylag geese around too.

A drake wigeon

On the wet meadows nearby there has recently been a pair of little egrets, as well as wigeon and woodcock near Broadford. On St Catherine’s Hill a crossbill and a pair of ravens were seen last month.

See you by the river.

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