Friday, 24 September 2010
Wet and Windy
The Five-bar Gate - beyond is the grazing marsh, the seawall and the Swale.
After a quite benign morning today, by 15.00 it was blowing a near N. gale and drizzling and raining hard. For once the weather forecasters had got it right and presumably that select band of birdwatchers - the seawatchers - were getting both excited and frustrated. I imagine that there had to be someone out in that weather on an islolated beach or headland, getting soaked and looking at Starling sized birds way out over a rough sea and trying to identify them. Quite mad and boring in my world but I guess that ornitholgy has to be thankful that such people exist, me I prefer to be constantly on the move. Tomorrow (Sat) is forecast to be a repeat, wind-wise and less the rain, and so I guess that beaches and headlands will be well populated by people with telescopes.
The monthly WEBS count on The Swale NNR was carried out yesterday lunchtime and as expected produced some exceptionally low counts, especially in the wildfowl dept. My part takes in the grazing marsh part of the reserve and surrounding farm fields and I had a total of 12 Shelduck, 20 Mallard, 10 Teal and 430 Greylag Geese - awful! There were two other counters operating at both ends of the reserve and this was the total for wildfowl which illustrates just how much the parched conditions are having an effect.
Once again it shows up just how dry Sheppey, and the eastern half in particular, is at this moment in time. There will come a time this winter when flooding causes me to regret these words but until then its dry all the way.
Driving down to the reserve this morning, I could see from some way off, huge clouds of white dust blowing across some of the farmland. It was tractors spreading gypsum across the fields. The gypsum seems to be a by-product of the plasterboard factory at Ridham and I imagine as well as having a value as a soil improver, sees the farmers receiving payment for taking the stuff.
Today I pretty much ceded the fact that those people that constantly winge about it being too hot and sunny for birdwatching, or indeed enjoying such life, have now won the day and so I wrapped up my push bike until next Spring. Mind you, its only 13 weeks until New Year and that lovely downhill run to the Spring again - if only it would come much quicker. I have rain beating against my window, a gale blowing, its chilly - do people actually enjoy this weather, oh to turn into a Dormouse.