I made a visit to a snow bound reserve this morning but with a blanket of snow across the whole reserve and all the waterways frozen solid, the only thing there was, were lots of sheep.!
Bird-wise on the grazing marsh, there were very few to be seen, a couple of fly-over Curlews, a Snipe that got up from a frozen ditch side and two or three Marsh Harriers - it was quite bleak. Obviously the majority of any birds that there were about were going to be out on the soft, low-tide mud of The Swale but I wanted to stay walking round the flat marsh, so therefore missed out on the birds there.
Mind you, Ellie thought it was quite amazing, all that white and cold stuff, all so new to a near five month old puppy.
Looking across the reserve towards Harty Church, it had am almost lunar feel about, quite bleak.
The other most obvious thing as you walk across the flat of the snow fields is the wildlife trails. Its quite amazing to see just how many fox and hare trails criss-cross across the reserve, rarely seen but obviously there, as were these geese prints.
And these of hares. Hare prints were everywhere, perhaps just one being very active, who knows.
Up on the seawall there were signs of much activity, dog footprints and human ones were all along the top - wildfowlers or simply dog walkers, hard to know. And then the big surprise, the ancient old Seawall Hide had had its steps sawn off and removed - no more access for anybody! A phone call to the reserve's Estate Manager found that for Health & Safety reasons the hide had been closed down (it was pretty much falling down) and so that's it. Two new hides along the sea wall are proposed some time this year but until then the reserve now has no public access onto it and no hides at all, just viewing from the top of the seawall.
Lastly, it was sad yesterday to hear of the unexpected death at the age of just 50 of Gordon Allison, the Elmley RSPB manager. Although we swapped some local bird news I didn't know him that well but he was a very likable and enthusiastic guy at carrying out what was both his job and his hobby.