Whilst sitting in the reserve's Tower Hide this morning I had a go at counting the huge number of birds out there but gave up because one, they had the sun behind them and therefore tended to be dark silhouettes and two, the plovers were so mobile that it was difficult to know what you had or hadn't counted. I simply enjoyed the spectacle.
In the 22-odd years that I've been wardening out there I don't think that I've ever seen that number of birds out there at any one time. Between the Shellness track and Harty church track there must be in excess of 10,000 birds at times.
The last four months have also exemplified the typical extreems of conditions that you get on the North Kent marshes in a typical year. Just last October the reserve was dust dry and bone hard and what birds were about were counted in single figures. The farmer alongside was having to re-sow the rape because the first lot died back after germination. Today, a few months later, two thirds of the reserve is under water or waterlogged and birds are counted by the several thousands. And do you know what, by Aug/Sept I bet we'll be crying out for water again!
In the meantime, tomorrow, we have a Spring High tide of 6.1m due, pushed in by a forecast severe NE gale and with around possibly 24 hours of rain - could be dodgy in low lying coastal areas by Monday.