Bedford

Share a Walk with a River Warden

On this damp and dismal day I went to do my River Warden monitoring. This is something I do every month. There is a route I take to ensure I look at all the features on which I must report.

Walking to the river I saw no one until reaching the churchyard. The narrow path leading to it (photo) can be a little tricky with social distancing when others are about. The river is across the road from the church and forms the small original village green. There was a police speed check in place there (didn't go too fast - honest!).

There were 3 people on the area of The Green, 2 were clad in swimming costumes and were setting off (with social distance) for a river swim. They told me the river water was warmer than the air. There was also a man apparently fishing in a most unusual fashion. He was throwing a magnet into the river and dragging it back towards himself. He had dropped an expensive pair of pliers in about 5ft of water from his boat and was trying to recover them! I always speak to the fishermen as that is the only way I stand any chance of knowing what fish are there.

I was checking for the colour of the water and the rate of flow, looking for erosion or bank collapse, for vegetation on or in the water and whether or not there was any litter. I also check that all the lifebuoys are correctly in place and anything else of interest.

There are certain plants, birds and insects on which I report. These indicate good or poor water quality. Today there were no significant plants but a lot of Garlic Mustard and Hedge Mustard (white and yellow flowers on photo) and some lovely buttercups. I had a pair of Grey Wagtail around the lock, 4 Mallard, 2 Mute Swan and a Moorhen on the river with 3 Common Tern flying around and fishing and a flyover calling Oystercatcher. Sand Martin are nesting in the brickwork of the old bridge - always good value at this time of year and there were a couple of Swallow, that nest on The Anchor pub, flying around.

Adjacent to the area is the scout field where there is a Horse Chestnut which looks fabulous at the moment. It got me singing 'Underneath the Spreading Chestnut Tree'.

Today there was nothing of concern but plenty to enjoy. Even when I got home I had not finished as there is an online form requiring completion - and coffee to be drunk.

Marion

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