My first posting of a new blog and the weather is awful, making a visit to the Swale NNR today an unattractive proposition. It has remained very wet and muddy since the New Year and large areas of the reserve still remain under several inches of water, making movement around it by either foot or vehicle very restricted. With the near continuous rain today and more forecast throughout the week, unless we get a dry March, suitable breeding conditions for birds such as Lapwings and Redshanks could be threatened by grassland that remains waterlogged and cold.
In the meantime however, with vitually the whole of Harty waterlogged, the wildfowl, plovers and waders have been enjoying while its unfrozen, superb feeding conditions, and have been spread across both the grazing and arable fields in many thousands each day.
There are however, harbingers of Spring beginning to appear. For a few weeks now in my garden, we have had the dawn song most days of a Song Thrush, a pretty uncommon bird these days on Sheppey and so a rare treat to wake up too. A Magpie has begun building a nest in a neighbour's bush and despite an abundance of suitable material lying around on the ground, spends much time each day trying to snap growing twigs from a laburnum tree. In the same tree, a pair of Collared Doves seem to mate most days, although nesting through the winter is a pretty common event for them.
I wonder how far north early Sand Martins have got, normally in early March the first birds will be seen along the South Coast and they will be in for a shock this year if they stick to their normal timetable.