What an uninspiring week this has been both weather and bird watching wise. The intensity of the cold has made being out in exposed places such as the Sheppey marshes, very unappealing. However if the weather forecasters are to be believed (dare we), today sees the start of Spring weather proper. We are supposed to be basking in temperatures of up to 12 degrees by tomorrow and by mid-week, with winds turning to the South and temperatures reaching 14 degrees, could this indeed be the week that our Spring migration kicks off. Exciting stuff!
One of the two Harty farmers has been active this last few weeks, planting many thousands of mixed hedgerow saplings to replace old hedgerows and in a couple of places, to create new ones. On the approach to his house alongside Harty church he has also added some new young oak trees to the avenue of small oaks that is becoming established there. As small and isolated as these oaks are out there, last winter they attracted the first pair of Jays reported on Sheppey for many, many years, so who knows what they might be the start of. A lot of Harty has been re-planted in this way by the two farmers over the last fifteen-odd years and ithas been a big boost to various wildlife species.
Unfortunately, what isn't needed after all this hedge planting, is a long dry summer. Most of the plants have been planted into wet, clay soil and will normally spring into leaf and life quite quickly over the next couple of months. However, given a normal to dry summer and that same soil will be dust dry and bone hard by July and with regular watering in the first year just not practical, it could sadly lead to the demise of a lot of this fine effort. Time will tell.
Two monthly counts to be carried out tomorrow on Harty, the WEBS and the last of the winter Harrier roost site counts, so hopefully a return to some bird news.