Our three man team carried out this month's WEBS counts on the reserve yesterday afternoon in bitter cold temperatures, under grey skies and in a ENE wind. For a change I had the section below Harty Church where a wader roost tradionally builds up on the saltings at high tide. There are three salt water pools on the saltings there, either side of an old salt workings mound, which as well as serving as the roost area are also used in the winter by the Swale Wader Group as their bird catching and ringing site.
My third of the WEBS counts amounted to the following:- 1 Little Egret - 40 Brent Geese - 70 Shelduck - 140 Wigeon - 8 Teal - 8 Oystercatcher - 60 Avocet - 320 Grey Plover - 200 Knot - 400 Dunlin - 340 Barwits - 60 Curlew - 12 Redshank.
Also 5 Red Breasted Merganser on The Swale and 1 S.E. Owl hunting along the grass banks I was counting from.
I went back there again earlier this morning and was in another world - Spring had appeared overnight, actual blue skies and sunshine, and so I took some photos to record the event. Double click on them to enlarge them.
Although this doesn't show the slope of the banks very well, it looks down to the three ponds on the saltings with the salt workings mound just before the last pond to the extreme the right.
Behind me as I took the above photo is the rear of the tiny Harty Church, which has superb views across The Swale to the mainland.
Further along the banks you can make out the Ferry House Inn in the distance. The reserve ends about a quarter of a mile before that.
At the end of the "Gravel Road", where the banks begin, this view looks east and shows all the flat marsh of most of the reserve.