Quite a mixed bag from my wandering round this morning, but first- I left home at 06.00 this morning in blue skies and very warm sunshine. I stopped briefly at Capel Corner, along the Harty Road to admire Capel Fleet in the early sunshine.
(As always these photos are better viewed by double clicking on each and enlarging)
I then moved on to the reserve, to find this:-
and this - the reserve was being covered in bouts of mist and was wet through with heavy dew.
It allowed me to take this classic type of photo though of typical grazing marsh, home sweet home as far as I'm concerned.
Another effect of the dew, with an almost autumnal feel, was these cobwebs being lit up. This morning, instead of the usual upright build of the cobwebs, most had been built horizontal, like trampolines - perhaps the spiders were expecting insects to drop in rather than pass by!
One of the things that often fascinates me is how many blogs only post photos of the more glamorous wild flowers and ignore the commoner ones, which can be just as attractive. Take this clump of White Clover for instance.
Come in closer and the flowers get even better. Now if you double click on this picture and enlarge it even more, the flower structure is as good as any orchid - I think so anyway.
By the time that I'd got onto this track across the farmland the sun had started to burn through in ernest and it was getting very warm. I found several of these black slugs, who'd obviously been out on an overnight excursion and were now trying to get back to the shelter of vegetation before the track got any dryer and warmer.
Whilst on the farmland I sneaked a look at one of the shooting ponds, known as Flight Ponds. This shows only half of its length and it borders the reserve further on. These particular ponds were specially created last summer specifically for shooting purposes and now, a year later, are beginning to look really attractive for all manner of wildlife. There were ducks, Coots, Moorhens, Sedge Warblers and dragonflies there this morning. Its hard to believe that in just over eight weeks time that the shooting season will begin again, but here at this site, I see two compensations. I have become quite friendly with the chap that leases the ponds for duck shooting and I know that he shoots very sparingly over them and only takes small numbers of ducks during the season. Secondly, as a result of that small price to be paid during the winter months, wildlife in general benefits all year round from a valuable piece of habitat that wouldn't of normally been there. I guess that the more extreme of you will still cry foul but I can assure you that there are far worse examples of shooting on Sheppey, that give far less back. If you take the blinkers off sometimes and take the time to talk to some of these guys you will realise that there are often things to be gained from both their activities and working with them.
And lastly, as the sun now burnt down really hotly, Marsh Harriers were riding the thermals and I came across this family of swans sitting on the ditchbank.........
before returning to the water and returning to their journey round.