Monday, March 9, 2009
Mild and warm weather for much of the week, with the river clearing and fish showing through the middle of the day. No sign of any friskiness amongst the Grayling as yet, the midday sunshine getting the Carp in the pond up to the surface and looking for food. There are signs that the Roach in the river and the pond have taken a real hammering from the cormorants over the past few months, for much of the winter they formed into large shoals and moved up and down the deeper stretches of the river, With little winter cover in the pond they were easy prey, Cloudy water offered some protection along with a fallen tree in one corner, but after five years of a burgeoning population their numbers have now been decimated.
All sorts are on the move at the moment, Ducks paired up, flitting from ditch to ditch, courting and house hunting. Several days this week we have been inundated by pairs of Swans looking for somewhere to “make out” The elderly grumpy pair that have taken up summer residence on the pond for so many years have passed on. The Cob a super alpha male would give incomers short shrift at this time of year. This year it is down to me and the dogs to keep the Swans on the move; the sight of a very wobbly spaniel and a Labrador crowned fattest bottom in show, enough to lift the most settled of Swans from the water. The cock pheasants that remain are up in arms with each other, three times this week I have come across a pair arguing in the middle of the road, neither giving ground, oblivious to human and canine presence taking in their handbags at ten paces.
This time last year the Osprey turned up, no sign of him yet, although I did catch sight of an ermine stoat, not completely white but not far off it. Pike are on the move, there are several long spring ditches in the meadow above us that are a haven for lust fuelled Pike, a fish of five pounds sat mid stream in front of the house for two mornings this week.
The springs continue to rise, a good sign for the first half of the season, and after one day of gales, no trees came down, a sure sign that the winds of twelve months ago cleared out a lot of trees that were about to go. Buds are swelling on the Willows, Hazel and Thorns and Daffodils are out. Ramsens and Bluebells poke their noses through to continue the succession.
I am still chopping willows down from the non-fishing bank and have taken delivery of several tonnes of chalk for bank repairs. The fish in the hatchery continue to thrive; the fish in the stew ponds continue to be threatened by Otters. Sometime in the next few weeks it will be necessary to take stock of the actual damage inflicted by our visitors granted environmental immunity.
The fishing season rushes towards us, invitations for rod renewal have been posted and the fishing lunch date fixed. There is a lot of work to be completed in the next few weeks , fingers crossed for the weather.