Life on Brownsea Island has been quite hectic recently due to Storm’s Ciara and Dennis. My colleague Nicki and I are now cosy and warm by a fire as I write this, after going out onto the island to see what havoc the storms have wrought. As we sip our tea, we mull over recent events …
Ciara Drops in…
Following the Met Office’s yellow weather warning about Storm Ciara, the decision was taken on safety grounds to close the island to visitors and we readied the reserve for high winds and rain.
That weekend, the island experienced average wind speeds from 50 to 65 km/h (31 to 40 mph) and gusts up to 110 km/h (68 mph) with lashing rain.
That Sunday we wrapped up and ventured towards the Tern Hide to see how Brownsea’s precious wetland birds were faring. The wind whistled in my ears and brutal squalls scratched across the lagoon surface at breath-taking speed. We bustled into the relative calm & cosy of the hide shaking the icy water from ourselves and huffing relief – phew! Rubbing our wet noses and shaking our frigid fingers into life so we could open the hide windows, we trained our optics towards the birds.
Through charging gusts and pelting rain, an avocet. An avocet. Feeding.
Feeding without a care in the world, its unmistakable bill scything through the rain-pocked mud – looking for all the world like a haymaker on a summer’s day.
Dennis Drops in…
Days pass and Storm Dennis picks up where Ciara left off.
Luckily little damage was done to the island’s trees after Ciara and Dennis blew themselves out. I was relieved to see that the giant sweet chestnut’s that stand sentinel in Venetia Park, remain; the vast majority of the Scot’s pine along the North Shore held their limbs and will continue to feed our beloved red squirrels.
Brownsea has weathered recent storms. Tomorrow we will be out on #WildBrownsea again, continuing our work to conserve and protect this amazing part of Dorset for both wildlife and people.