Over the Christmas and New Year period we experienced a moderate flood on the reserve. The reserve acts as a flood reservoir, protecting local villages from the sheer volume of water which enters the great Ouse. The flooding caused some sections of the reserve to be closed, with access to the hide requiring chest waders.
Approach to the hide
Moore Lake with islands completely submerged
Although the flooding was detrimental to reserve access, it does have ecological benefits. The breeding wader islands at Moore Lake have been completely underwater for at least two weeks and this will hopefully knock back and suppress the vegetation which had already started to grow. Ferry lagoon has also benefitted from increased water levels. The lowest areas on Ferry mere have gone completely underwater, which will benefit flood plain plants such as mudwort and grass-poly, whilst also providing areas for feeding waders such as Lapwing as the water levels draw down towards the spring. Moreover, the numbers of wigeon on the reserve have soared and peaked at around 3000, whilst we have been holding increased numbers of lapwing, with this resulting in the local peregrine putting on some fine shows of aerial acrobatics.
Ferry mere partially flooded
Fortunately the water levels across the site have been falling rapidly and all trails are now open. Wellies are definitely recommended as the paths are very muddy in places.However, don’t let that stop you popping down to see what is about, there is always plenty to see at the lakes and recent sightings have included Slavonian grebe, marsh harrier and bittern.