Waters rising in the Vale

The River Severn was very high at Haw Bridge (10.70m) this morning, almost bursting its banks.  So the River Chelt, also unusually high, can’t discharge into the Severn and is back-flooding the Coombe Hill and Leigh Meadows.  Waters are much higher than of late at Coombe Hill; the Grundon Hide was comfortably accessible (as long as you were wearing wellingtons – ankle deep) this morning, but levels will almost certainly rise some more in the next day or two.  Both the islands in the scrapes are under water.

Five Lapwings, the Oystercatcher and the Redshank have had their nests submerged, but at least two pairs of Lapwings have got their chicks (respectively families of four tinies and three aged two weeks) on to slightly higher ground round the edges of the scrapes; will they survive further rises in water level?  Another fifteen Lapwings, two Oystercatchers, at least one Redshank and three Curlews were still present, and may well try to nest again when the waters recede; among migrant waders a Common Sandpiper and at least ten Whimbrel.  Four Swifts flew over, just returned from Africa.  Two pairs of Gadwall present and at least one Shelduck.

Other observers report a possible singing Iberian Chiffchaff (which would if confirmed by a great rarity) along the canal bank; and a Whinchat (not very common in spring) and several Yellow Wagtails.

Always a chance of something unusual in these conditions.

At Ashleworth, water levels are also higher, but the hides along the road are easily accessible; Lapwing are displaying again after losing their eggs to the floodwater, the incubating Mute Swan is preparing to get her feet wet.

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