While the reserve still remained frozen solid this morning the sight of patches of blue sky and some watery sun made it far more enjoyable to walk round than in yesterday's awful gloom and skin-numbing freezing fog.
Below you will see the "Seawall Hide" which sits facing the reserve just a few yards from the seawall. In a normal, wet winter the field in front of this hide floods up to as much as 70% of its area, attracts many hundreds of wildfowl and waders and is known as "The Flood".
Although you can't see it in the photo, underneath the hide someone has trod a trail the few yards to the edge of the Delph dyke. Just to the left of the hide there is the only area of water left un-frozen on the whole of the reserve.
This photo shows that tiny area of water, about 30 yds in diameter, with it's attendant Mallard, perhaps the reason "someone" hid in the reeds under the hide.
The view in the opposite direction from the "Seawall Hide", looking over the seawall, across the saltings that are shot and out to the Swale.
Nana, my 15 yr old Beagle having one of her now not so frequent visits to her old stomping ground along the seawall.
I had an E-Mail from a guy this morning, who has E-Mailed me before on the subject of my dislike of the wildfowlers. I don't believe that he still shoots anymore himself but he still supports the Kent Wildfowlers and what they do. Whilst there is little chance of us agreeing on the subject, I respect his opinions and the fact that he is bothering to voice them, that's how it should be and we share some interesting opinions.
He took me to task over the current Severe Weather voluntary shooting restraints and a potential ban and the fact that the poor attitudes of those wildfowlers that I had spoken too weren't necessarily those of the majority of the KWCA members. Well I can accept that, there are indeed bad apples in any organisation - we in birdwatching circles have twitchers - but I can only write about what I see and experience.
I know that he, and presumably even birdwatchers, given the deafening silence from the majority, feels irked that I keep hammering away at this legal "sport" but I'll never be able to accept that it should take place on, or against a wetland nature reserve.
Bird-life on the reserve was fairly limited but I did scrape up the following as I walked round the marsh.
2 Heron - 1 White-fronted Goose - 80 Greylag Geese - 30 Mallard - 1 Marsh Harrier -1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier - 1 Sparrowhawk - 2 Kestrel - 20 Lapwing - 1 Barn Owl - 70 Skylark - 30 Mipits - 20 Linnet