Sunday, 26 June 2011

Wandering Dew

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.


  1. Nice photos of the views from your part of the world Derek. I agree it is a shame to overlook the more common wild flowers, they all have their own beauty.

    Lovely photos of the Swan family.

    I don't think objecting to the killing of a living creature, particularly for pleasure, can ever be looked upon as extreme but perhaps you need to remove your blinkers to recognise that...

  2. Jan,

    I have already removed mine by talking to the shooting enthusiast, instead of jumping in two-footed and accusing him of sin as I normally would in following your ideals. By doing that I have found that rather than shoot loads of birds just to spite the objector, that they shoot just a few and that when talking to each other, in reality you have similar views and objectives on wildlife.
    You'd be surprised, over a twelve month period, just what some of these guys give back to the environment, often far more tha some so called conservationists.

  3. Whatever they 'give back' to the environment, it is no compensation for depriving even one innocent creature of its life for man's pleasure. Any life is precious and no one should have the right to destroy it for 'fun'.

  4. Dear oh dear Jan, are you really that one-sided, do you actually watch a mosquito bite your arm rather than swat it.

  5. I would instinctively brush it off Derek, I don't want squashed fly remains on my arm thank you, but that is completely off the point and I'm sure you know it. I was referring to killing for pleasure.

  6. I got a good soaking this morning Derek, fog and cloud for most of the morning here.

    As for the shooting, well if the poor bloke cant afford the price of a Tesco Duck, then I suppose he has no option but to shoot one, why else would he want to kill one, surley not for fun, certainly not sport :-)

    Sorry, I'm with Jan, shooting cant be justified because it provides habitat for other species, if that were the case i'd go and wipe out the pikey poulation, but justify it by donating money to Childrens charities.

  7. Derek,
    I have been reading your blog for a long time and have derived much pleasure from it. I notice that whenever you mention the positive input that other countryside make you receive persistant negative comments from the same two people.
    I have also studied the profiles of them, and from what I can see the only conservation input they make, is tramping around their patches,causing unnessary disturbance, counting bird, for no useful purpose. All I wish to say is, that people who really care about the plight of our Planet, are with you and give scant regard to those who live in Fairyland

  8. Very well said Jasper, I don't particually like shooting and don't enjoy seeing the birds being shot but if you are going to get fully involved in the countryside and try to improve it its no good going round head butting people who do things differently from you.
    I doubt that either of those people have made any attempt to actively see what improvements to habitat some shooting people can make, or indeed to get into open conversation with them to see what common ground there is. If that is the case then they limit the validity of their arguements. There are shooting people out their that do treble more for conservation and habitat than perhaps those two do.

  9. Derek says what he says, and knows he has to deal with me in person - fair enough - others hide behind baracades, much like the cowardly shooters, firing off a volley of wayward accusations at people they have only read a few diary entries for - Check you facts before firing!!