Monday, 20 September 2010
In previous blogs I have regularly referred to the "S" Bend Ditch on the reserve. It is a longish and winding, wide ditch come fleet that runs from the centre of one end of the reserve, to the seawall. It is the favourite site for most of the wildfowl that are attracted to the reserve and as it dries, of many waders too.
I have also been banging on about how dry the reserve is and the lack of birdlife, well the above photo shows just how dry the reserve currently is, because 90% of the "S" Bend Ditch is now as dry as the photo shows. There are just a couple of shallow areas of water further round from where this was taken. Normally it would be full of water to its full width and in wet winters will overflow onto the surrounding fields.
On BBC South East weather one night last week it was reported that Sheppey has been the driest site in SE England in recent years and don't we know it.
I had a walk along the ditch's length last week and duck numbers were very low, amounting to a few dozens of Mallard but we have a WEBS count to carry out on Thursday and this will give a clearer idea of how much the centre of the reserve is suffering from this current dry period.
If there is a bonus to be had from this it is the fact that wildfowling disturbance is very low due to the lack of birds and last year in identical conditions, it remained that way well into November.