I left home at 08.30 in Minster this morning under blue and sunny skies and shortly after arrived at the Swale NNR to find that it, and the eastern end of Sheppey, had the exact opposite weather conditions.
Heavy grey clouds were being pushed in off the sea by the ever present, strong and cold N.E. wind and it wasn't pleasant. In fact, walking into the wind along the seawall it was just as cold as some of the days that I spent out there in January and February. What's more, I became even more incensed at the end of the visit, to arrive back at the car and hear a weather man on the radio say that Southern England was much warmer today due to the much lighter winds! That might be the case with one hand held out of the office window but not so in the middle of a marsh.
One other effect of this drying wind all week has been the speed at which water levels have been dropping in the wetter parts of the reserve and indeed, in the dryer parts, the ground is beginning to crack up!
Anyway, back to the morning's walk round, which didn't come up with anything too exciting. With just a scattering of the winter birds left now, including 9 White-fronted Geese - 30 Wigeon and 60 Teal, and spring migrants still very thin on the ground, its pretty much down to just recording the routine resident birds at the moment and nests as they are found. The only migrants found this morning were 1 Sedge Warbler - 2 Whimbrel - 1 Greenshank and a Whitethroat alongside the reserve, which possibly sounds good until it is compared with many other sites in Kent.
I wonder how much now, as a result of several mild winters, we tend to expect spring migrants and indeed, all manner of spring wildlife events, far too early. It is still only early April and it wasn't that long ago that many of the sightings that we are recording and indeed expecting now, would of been considered quite early. Perhaps nature is just getting us back into the normal rotation of things.