20th January 2019
That one certainly came out of left field, I think the forecast was cloud all day. It was also a WeBS day, which required an early start to be on site before first light. The valley remains quiet on the bird front with the mild weather failing to bring us the birds out of the east, its just as well we have an interesting local population. The walk in to the start of my area was accompanied by the waking flight of over 750 Jackdaws making a terrific din to welcome the day. The Magpie roost ejected 33 chattering birds, cross at my arrival getting them up five minutes early. The herons were heading for the trout stews as were over 150 Cormorants. The shattering explosion of the crow scarer came as the fuse slowly burnt away scattering the birds for a few minutes before they quickly resettled before a repeat performance on the next report. More reluctant to rise, it was a further five minutes before 31 Little Egret and one Great Egret headed out from the roost immediately dispersing up and down the valley. My move a mile south was timed to see the Mute swans, plus our one Bewicks, leaving the river where they roost and heading out into the meadows to feed. If its one thing we are not short of its Mute Swans, today's count was the first of the winter to reach over 200 with a total of 217. Lots of various geese plus odds and ends of ducks and waders but nothing that will set the twitcher world alight. The redd is in the usual place just short of the trout farm screens, blocking any further upstream migration, the cock fish was still in residence guarding his patch. The final shot just captures the finer points of being a cow on such a sunny winter day with a belly full of hay.
19th January 2019
A nice shot of Richie who was a guest on the estate today and had just a Jack to show for his efforts and a good soaking when I bumped into them this morning. Its been an okay week, considering the change in water temperature, which has produced a barbel a couple of ounces short of 14 for Darrel and a chub an ounce short of the magical seven for Tony. Well fished all, proving what ever the weather you just never know what is going to turn up.
17th January 2019
I spent a couple of hours today looking for a particular pike I would like to see on the bank this year, simply to see what size she is these days. I was looking in some of the less frequently visited slacks where I managed to find three nice doubles to about fifteen pounds yet, alas, the lady I was seeking managed to avoid me. Never mind always next time!
14th January 2019
The Bewicks Swan that has been about with the Mutes for several weeks.
9th January 2019
Talking of eagles, as I was recently, this isn't one! This is one of our many Buzzards that has found a decidedly dead goose, every cloud etc. The eagle is still close by so if you see it when out and about please text or call as I would love to get a closer look at our dramatic visitor. Talking of wildlife, as I was yesterday with our dead salmon, that most learned of members Tony Crisp has come to the aid of my speculative bear. Being also a compassionate man Tony was quick to point out that killing our salmon "must have been a point of 'last resort'. What else was a bear supposed to do, when someone has eaten all the porridge?"
A clear, frosty morning a perfect morning for cleaning up the salmon pools. 'Below the Break Through' one of sixty pools now cleaned and ready for the off in less than a month. All 'Gold' 'Salmon and Coarse River' and 'Salmon' syndicate members should have received their renewal notices. If you haven't please give the office a ring and they will sort it out.
Above the Break Through cleaned and ready, the tail of the pool is where the strimming finishes, please do not fish into the reedbeds. The reedbeds will be the nesting sites for many of our native bird population so please keep clear. Whilst fishing down such a pool, step, cast, step, cast, lost in a world of flies and huge 'Springers' make sure there is a piece of bank under your feet. Look down, step, cast, look down, step, cast, much of the bank will be soft and crumbling after the erosion of the recent high water. A dip this early in the season is not too be recommended.
7th January 2019
The heron have returned to their nests to proclaim the start of the nesting season with their raucous calls echoing about the valley. The otter kill is a little odd in that the hen should have spawned by now and usually the first thing the otter devours is the spawn. The usually bitten out throat has been replaced by a large section of bone and flesh ripped out of the back. Looks a little like a bear kill to me so keep your wits about you if your down the bottom end of the estate near the forestry!
3rd January 2019
The single dark bellied Brent Goose is still out with the Canada's and there was also a single White-front flying about with the Greylag plus a single Bewick up at Ibsley. I imagine the Harbridge Ibsley area will sound like a grandfather clock for the next few days with the sound of twitchers getting their year tick!
2nd January 2019
Hopefully, if my html is up to it, a click on the link below should open Brenda Cook's 2018 Report on her ongoing ringing study on Mockbeggar. It's a really interesting paper and already showing some intriguing findings about our warbler populations. In this day and age with so much negative news on the environmental front its pleasing to see such positive trends resulting from Brenda's hard work.
1st January 2019
To get the New Year under way I plucked up the courage and spent three hours trotting bread through the roach swims at Ibsley. In actual fact I trotted Botney pool as one or two members were up for the challenge and were having a go around the bridge. I have yet to hear if they met with any success but I have to say I didn't cover myself in glory by landing a huge roach, or any roach come to that. I did however see one or two encouraging fish move and as on the last visit a single chub saved the blank. Despite the lack of fish I enjoyed the time trotting immensely, a downstream wind and bright sunlight reflecting off the water made life tricky but failed to dampen the spirits. I fished the entire session without a tangle, quite an achievement for me and fished over a dozen glides to learn the lay of the land, or river in this case. Discovering where the weed remains and the flow plays tricks, the whereabouts of the shallows and holes, all vital if I'm to get to grips with this difficult section once more.
Wishing all Avon Diary readers a healthy and prosperous 2019.
31st December 2018
A great shot of a great fish to round off the year. Thanks to Bob Edwards for this photo of his simply stunning 15.14. Not a fish I recognise and certainly not one of the five recent 15's I have photos of. I have given up speculating on how many 15+ barbel and 7+ chub we have about the place, I just think its about time I had one or two on my rods.
30th December 2018