Flooding at Yarwell January 2021
Despite the weather, yesterday, Tuesday 19th Jan, I ventured out (for work reasons) to Yarwell on Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire's border.

This week, the weather caused by Storm Christoph has caused some minor but expected flooding on our property. After all, parts of our Yarwell have designated floodplain meadows that lie adjacent to the River Nene.  

The property remains a place for summer grazing and haymaking; except for the wettest areas. Over the past 5 years, we have also planted cricket bat willows, Salix alba caerulea. They have certainly been getting lots of water!

The clue is quite literally in the name as they are used to manufacture cricket bats. These have been planted in association with J.S. Wright & Sons, the largest cricket bat producer in the UK.

This type of willow is very fast-growing with a single straight stem. It has slightly more blue-green colour, larger leaves than typical white willow, 10 to 11cm long and 1.5 to 2cm wide.

Male Goosander have green heads where
the females have brown. 

Whilst observing the differences in tree growth and preparing to set a mink trap, I spotted a male Goosander on the river. The first record of this species for the site. You will probably spot these beautiful birds diving for fish. They are a member of the sawbill family because they have long, serrated bills used to catch fish.

The species typically breeds on rivers in the north and west of the UK, but winters throughout fresh waterways throughout the UK. However, Goosanders have recently started breeding in lowland England, with the first recorded in Cambridgeshire in 2018, so this could have been a local bird. The flooded grassland was also popular with meadow pipits, pied wagtails and a grey wagtail.

Dr Vince Lea
Head of Wildlife Monitoring

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