Monday, 2 May 2011

Dry Days and Shoreside Flowers

The last few days haven't been too great due to a combination of not feeling very well and the awful wind that has been blowing non-stop from the East.
I seem to have some sort of virus that means as soon as I do anything energetic I feel all shaky and weak and consequently visits to the reserve have been brief, just to monitor one or two things that can't be left.

But it is the wind that has been, and still is, the most annoying feature of the last four days. We have had non-stop blue skies and warm sunshine which would of made for perfect summer days but unfortunately they have been spoilt by a continuously strong E. wind, which this morning was gusting up to 40mph. As I drove down to the reserve this morning some of the roads were even coated by leaves that had been blown off the hedges and trees. Watching the buffeting that some of the larger trees were taking at times, it made me wonder how many things like Rook eggs or chicks are thrown from the nests in such conditions, raptors nests the same. Watching the way in which the tall phragmites reed beds were being pulled in all directions by the gusts also made me realise how susceptable to the wind Reed Warblers nests are when just suspended between the stems.
But the one major effect of this sun/drying wind combination is dryness, its like a giant hairdryer effect across the marshes. Certainly on the reserve, all of the shallow wet areas have now dried up and in the last week alone our small Flood has probably lost a third of its water area. With all of the summer months yet to come, the prospects for avoiding another seriously dry autumn like last year are not looking good.
Back home I have been putting the sprinkler on the lawns and flower beds at regular intervals in order to maintain a supply of worms and things for the Blackbirds, because the ground was cracking up through dryness and they must of been really struggling to feed their young.
This picture shows some of the bushes on the reserve being buffeted by the wind today.

Near to my house is The Shingle Bank at Minster beach and it is host right now, to two wild flowers that I particularly like. Hopefully by double clicking on them they'll come up in better detail.
This first one is not a common wild flower but seems to do quite well on the north shores of Sheppey, it is called Dragon's Teeth. It is a member of the pea family and forms large, prostrate clumps of flowers which easily re-produce by the seed pods bursting and flinging their seeds in all directions. They are a delightful and colourful flower, much loved by bees, and after raising a few from seed I now have them all over my garden and they're very welcome.

This one is also a typical and colourful shingle beach wild flower, Sea Campion.


  1. This wind is a real pain Derek ! Like you say its drying out things even more, and shredding the new leaves, I hope the Blue Tits are finding enough Caterpillars on them!

    Feel better soon!

  2. Thanks Warren, bent double walking into that wind on the marsh this morning didn't help things. the wind must be difficult for all kinds of birds - when you've got the branches smashing to and fro in a frenzy it must be difficult to find food amongst them for birds.

  3. The wind has been appalling here for some time too Derek and yesterday seemed even worse and as you say has dried the last remnants of moisture from the ground. I can't remember the last time we had rain!

    Nice to see some of your wild flowers. I too am trying to add more native wild flowers to my garden and have learnt to let the garden dictate to me what should grow where, rather than me trying to manipulate it. It is an easier more relaxed way of gardening and consequently more natural and wildlife friendly.

    Hope you feel much better soon.

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