What a traumatic few days it’s been. As you’re all probably aware, mid-Wales suffered a storm of almost biblical proportions at the end of last week with 5 inches of rain falling in just 36 hours. The damage to local villages was horrendous with many properties evacuated and millions of pounds of damage caused. All the roads to the reserve were flooded and we had to shut up shop on Friday and Saturday with limited access from the south on Sunday.
The Springwatch production village was badly hit and a huge clean up operation started yesterday to repair the damage. The web camera on the barn owls and pied flycatchers are now up and running and the teams are frantically trying to connect all the other web cameras in time for tonight’s show.
Filled with trepidation I drove around some of the reserve in the Landrover yesterday and some of my worst fears were realised. Our lowland wet grassland suffered heavy flooding (as you can see from the photos below) with some of the lapwing chicks that were close to fledging succumbing to the rain and floods. Thankfully though, lots of the lapwing and redshank chicks managed to find higher ground so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
Some of the flooding we've had on the reserve over the last couple of days...
The Breakwater, Ynys Eidiol and Saltings hides were inaccessible after the drainage ditches overflowed and covered the paths which are still under 3 feet of water. We’re soldiering on though, and opening up as much of the reserve as possible as and when we can.
With the mini cameras down, I was starting to worry about how the other species we’ve been following fared in the storm. A walk through the woods re-assured me somewhat, with pied flycatchers and redstarts taking food to nests, a blackcap feeding young and lots of blue and great tit young. The redstarts on the camera have probably fledged by now and fingers crossed for all the other species too. Hopefully well get confirmation on tonight’s show. Even though we’ve seen some losses due to the storm, there should be enough young surviving to provide the next generation of adults.
Fingers crossed we’ve seen the last of the rain for now.