I know that climate change is a serious concern to many, but its effect on our part of the Thames appears to be more rapid than I had thought it would be.
The evidence is in our photograph of Jill Stephens from Shepperton, who is a leading light of Spelthorne Civic Pride.
Jill was taking part in a recent litter-pick along the riverbank between Laleham and Chertsey and along with twelve bags of assorted rubbish she spotted five coconuts bobbing around among the flotsam and jetsam.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she tells me. “Of the five, two looked as if they could have been bought in the local supermarket but the others were still in their outer casings as if they’ve been growing somewhere.”
If this had happened on the lower reaches of the Thames, it could have been put down to the coconuts coming in on the tide, but that’s not possible this far up the river.
And one of my colleagues has also reported seeing the occasional coconut floating beside the weir at Penton Hook Lock.
So where are these mysterious visitors arriving from? Has somewhere on the upper reaches of the Thames developed its own tropical microclimate?
If you can unlock this mystery, please give me a call or drop me an email.
TALKING of calls, that’s precisely what Truda Howell from Sydney Road, Staines, did after reading my Riverwatch about Chinese mitten crabs.
Truda is a keen bird-watcher and decided to visit the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes with her 18-year-old granddaughter Megan Howell who lives in Worple Road.
The pair were looking forward to a day watching the many varieties of water fowl and other birds to be seen at the centre and were walking along one of the pathways when they were confronted by the little chap as it strode out in front of them.
It was clearly a mitten crab, but a fairly young one judging from the size.
Truda said: “It didn’t seem at all worried by our presence and just stood there for a while before wandering off back towards the water.”
Megan added: “He wasn’t as big as the ones you were writing about but we saw the piece in the paper and just thought we had to get in touch to say mitten crabs are certainly here!”
Thanks a lot, ladies, and happy bird-watching this year. Do send me some more pictures if you snap anything unusual on your travels…
I’VE heard that Staines and Egham Sea Cadets are on the look-out for recruits to join their crew based close to Staines Bridge.
The cadets present an excellent opportunity for youngsters aged up to 18 to learn seamanship and abseiling and to sail, row, and shoot, among other skills and to experience the history and traditions of the Senior Service.
The group meets on Tuesday evening and Sunday morning and anyone interested is welcome to go along and find out what goes on or call 01784 469064.