Monday, 16 May 2011

The Swale NNR - Flora and Fauna

A couple of days ago when it was still warm and sunny I wandered down to Shellness Point again and here are a couple of views of the beach. (As always, these photos are much improved by double-clicking on each and enlarging them)
This first one includes the WW2 Observation Post on the beach with the Hamlet in the background.

Looking the other way, this one shows the small bay with the mainland and The Swale in the background and a roost of non-breeding Oystercatchers in the foreground.

Yesterday I was back on the main reserve in a cold wind and under cloudy skies but snapped various things that took my fancy, especially some of the current flowers to be seen, although this first is one of the Avocets on the Flood.

Another view of Thrift on the saltings.

Goatsbeard along the seawall.

Silverweed and Sea Milkwort growing on one of the stone paths across the marsh.

Houndstongue. If rubbed, the leaves of this plant have a strong smell of mouse-urine - a lovely small, red flower but a nasty smell. I found the first specimen of this plant on the reserve about fifteen years ago and since then it has increasingly populated around 50% of the reserve, the reason being its small, velcro covered seeds that stick to animal fur, bootlaces and trousers and spread easily.

Hoary Cress. Great clumps of this plant are to be found in a couple of fields to the east of the reserve.

I found several specimens of this distinctive froghopper which doesn't appear to have a common name and is known as Cercopis Vulnerata.

Red-legged Partridge. A common and basically ignored bird, counts-wise, due to its annual release for shooting purposes.

Alongside the entry gate to the reserve is an old and almost dead Elderberry bush with lichen covered trunks and branches. I couldn't understand why a pair of Long-tailed Tits were always hanging around it, I couldn't see an obvious nest. Eventually I realised that a thick clump of lichen towards the bottom of the trunk was actaully the nest. It now has chicks waiting to fledge.

Midge demanded to be included in the list of photos.


  1. Good to find a LTT nest which looks like having a succesful outcome Derek :-)

  2. The LT Tits were still feeding when I went down lunch time to do my half of the monthly WEBS counts, which where I was, was as poor as it gets.

  3. An interesting and varied post Derek.

    Now if I had waited until today I could have saved myself a lot of trawling through books to identify Silver Weed yesterday :)

    LTT nests really are amazing constructions.

    Nice to see the Avocet and the much overlooked Red-legged Partridge...and of course the star of the show...Midge :)