Saturday, 30 July 2011

Grey Day No.2

It was another disapointing walk round this morning weather-wise with grey skies coming in off the sea with a chilly wind and once again, not what the stupid Kaddie on BBC had promised (by 2.00pm it was gloriously hot and sunny). The only thing that brightened things up, depending on your point of view, was some guy who jogged the whole length of the seawall in front of the reserve completely naked. It looked a bit painful to me with his meat and two veg. slapping to and fro.
Having cut across part of the reserve I hopped over the fence and made my way across part of the farmland, where the profusion of wildflowers has made things much more interesting in recent weeks and there I found a couple of blackberry bushes that gave me my first snack of the year of quite juicy berries. I also came across a nice clump of wild snapdragons, Common Toadflax, as below.

As is the norm each year, the grazing fields alongside the Shellness track have been left to grow and during this week the hay has been cut and dried and now awaits baling. (Notice the wind pump in the background, which supply a "wader pool" with water)

This one has already been baled and cleared and now awaits some unlikely rain before greening up again.

Because of the hot and dry Spring this year, the hay crop has been quite poor and many farmers are reporting a 50% reduction on the number of bales per field as against previous years. This is already seeing prices per bale almost trebling and I imagine that any farmers with a supply this winter will be making some pretty good profits.
One of the commonest birds on Harty at the moment appears to be the Green Sandpiper and because of the amount of mud showing in most of the ditches, each one seems to have two or three Green Sandpipers in it - all in all this morning on the reserve and the farmland, I must of seen around 30 or more. I also saw my first autumn Wheatear and too my surprise, an over-flying budgie, poor thing.

One last feature from this morning is this example of numerous, mostly square and shallow "pools", that are on the saltings along the front of the reserve. They have been there all of my 60 odd years and none of us locals know what caused them and more importantly, why nothing has grown in them. The spartina grass that makes up most of the salting along there is extremely vigorous when it comes to colonising the mud and yet not one of those pools has anything growing in it. Is there something toxic in the mud in each one? although that seems unlikely given the amount of times that the saltings have been flooded by Spring Tides. Its a mystery that could do with being solved.

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