Saturday, 15 February 2014

Flooding and UK Wildlife

Locally here in Nottingham the flooding has been fairly mild with most rivers certainly running high but no real risk at the moment of flooding like in Somerset. Its not great for my photography as i spend most of my time in rivers and need clear water to get images. The murky water also proves difficult for species such as kingfishers and prolonged periods of floods can hit them hard not being able to see small fish as easily as in clear water but what does all the wet weather do to are wildlife and are there any positives of them?

Kingfishers breed all over the Trent valley but the floods do them no favours


The wet weather causes areas below sea level (such as the Somerset levels) and lowland rivers to flood which can have a detrimental effect on some of our wildlife. Barn owls can be hit hard as with the flooded fields it stops them being able to hunt and recently they have dropped in numbers all over the country. Closer to home with my rivers all kinds of man made rubbish gets washed in as well as road run off and farm run off which increases the pollution into rivers (despite rivers getting better there are no rivers in lowland England or wales that are unaffected by pollution with most falling below EU standards)

Barn Owls struggle with the flooded fields


You might think that there is no up sides but you'd be wrong! Despite the pollution being washed in the fast water washes shallow gravels clean and clears them of silt which provides great spawning habitat for fish such as salmon and trout and the silt which will get deposited further down stream provides habitat for invertebrates and rare fish like lamprey and spined loach. When the rivers burst there banks and floods fields it opens new feeding grounds for waterfowl which are flat enough to see predators coming from a far and food that would not normally be available vital for migrating birds. Fish can get stranded which is bad for the fish but feeds birds like herons which can struggle in the fast flowing murky rivers. One fish that can benefit from floods in the eel which can come out of the river much easier and into dyke's, ponds and canals that otherwise would be hard to get into and provide a safer home then the river.

Brown Trout can benefit with shallow gravels being washed clean

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jack
    The photos of the kingfishers and barn owls are great,
    We love the idea of filming fish.
    We snorkelled with basking sharks, seals and a pike last year.
    Looking forward to following your blog
    Best Wishes
    Debbie, Andy, Amelia and Alex