Welcome to this weeks Ribble roundup, which as the title suggests has been a wild and windy week.
The Ribble Discovery Centre welcomed their first school visit of the new year on a very blustery day! The Year 2 class from Strike Lane Primary School Completed the Plant Detectives session in the secret garden, it was quite a challenge in the wind, but, one I suspect many of the children will not forget. The children were great, eager to learn and explore, fully embracing the weather and #LearningOutdoors away from their usual classroom setting.
Thanks to @StrikeLane for tagging us on their twitter post about the visit.
The wildness of Ciara blew in a single barnacle goose, spotted on the edge of Fairhaven Lake on Tuesday afternoon. This is an usual sighting for us here and to see just the one does suggest it has been blown off course in the storm surge. We were anticipating a large number of "blow aways", but, alas, no others materialised! We have also spotted a couple of extra cormorants on the lake though.
The lake has also been filled with Wednesday's high tide as the work on the sluice gate has now been completed. This will allow the water to refresh with the high tides via the automatic sluice gate, allowing the water to return to an increased salinity.
Half term fun at the Ribble Discovery Centre
Presfield School have been back in the Marshside workshop. Finishing touches were made to the birdbox kits, before they were whisked away to the Ribble Discovery Centre. There was time left to make some boxes for themselves though, and we were impressed with their hidden talents once again.
Many thanks goes out to Presfield School for these kits. They are all ready for our activity on Wednesday 19.02.20 10-12 to celebrate National Nestbox Week. To book please call 01253 796292 or email email@example.com, or even just call in on the morning. We shall be putting them together and giving them a lick of paint. We will also advise as to the best location to place them in your garden for their new prospective tenants.
Ciara Hits Marshside
Storms have names now, so we might as well roll with them. Ciara bore down on the Ribble at the beginning of the week and tested the resilience of its wintering wildlife. The saltmarshes were inundated with water, leaving little refuge for its inhabitants.
The pictured black-headed gulls at Marshside made good with the invertebrates bounding their way away from the high tide, but not all species were as lucky. For many birds, all they could do is hold tight. The curlew in the video seemed particularly peturbed by the wind. One of the few sparks of luck we witnessed was the wind doing the voles a favour. Escaping from the water and retreating to the outer banks often leaves these guys overly exposed to predation. However, the bad new was for kestrels who found it difficult to hover in the strong gusts.
Saltmarshes do an amazing job of helping protect the coastline from high stormy seas as their structure dissipates energy. As the energy drops out of the sea it deposits debris, and the bigger the storm, the more debris you get. Some debris is good, as mats of seed provide food and start regeneration processes. The large trees and logs that have appeared at Marshside will provide home and shelter for invertebrates. The sea is not discerning though, and we can already see an worrying amount of plastic washed up - stay tuned for a plan to remove it all.
The wind subsided towards the end of the week and things began to return to normal. The inner marshes are holding a lot of water, and there will no doubt be some amazing foraging opportunities for birds as is slowly recedes.
Dennis - As this is written, storm Dennis approaches. Will it hit the same ?
The Avocets arrived early, and in style this year. Stuart Darbyshire reported the two pictured as the storm first hit, and by the second day of windy weather they reached double figures.
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