Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunday Bits

The weather today has spoiled a really good week for weather in March. All week we have had really warm and sunny days after early mist had lifted, culminating in yesterday's really warm and sun-filled day, but today here on Sheppey has just stayed very dull and cold with a chilly E. wind. Its been really disappointing and made for a quite brief visit to the reserve this morning, I don't like the cold at the best of times.
However getting back to the Spring-time weather of the rest of the week, all the usual reminders have been evident, as this few days old lamb and its mother show.

Likewise the primroses now flowering in abundance in my wild flower border in the garden.

And alongside that same border the hawthorn hedge that runs down my drive is just coming into leaf and threw up a nice surprise yesterday. I watched a Robin going in and out with nest material in its beak and went and had a look and in the greenest section by the gate, it had a nest. What made my day was the fact that the nest has been built in an old china teapot that I put in the hedge for that purpose a couple of years ago. Unfortunately getting a photograph would of meant disturbing the hedge around the teapot too much and so I just took a photo of the hedge and left it alone.

A couple of weeks ago I reported in a posting that some swans had been killed after colliding with the overhead power lines along the Harty Road in the early morning light. They had been crossing a section of the lines that had no warning devices hanging from them to warn of their prescence. Unfortunately the lines become quite invisible in the dark or early morning light when flying towards them. However after some prompting by various people, the power company turned up on Friday and installed a lot more of the round plastic hanging discs along a much longer section of the lines. These make the power lines stand out and hopefully more deaths can be now avoided.
Whilst the beautiful weather of the last week has been really enjoyable, it has unfortunately accelerated the drought conditions on the reserve. Several of the rills that we filled a weeks or so ago by towing a mobile pump around have already lost their water content. The marsh around them is so dry that the water simply soaks away in days and its a pretty hopeless situation this year I'm afraid. The breeding season for all manner of marshland birds is looking pretty grim and Lapwings especially look like having a second bad year and all though its still early, few pairs are showing signs of nesting yet.
We still have reminder of the winter as well, these few White-fronted Geese were part of a flock of around 90 birds that is still currently using the reserve before returning north to breed. With the shooting season well over the birds have lost a lot of their timidity and I was able to pass them at around 100yds without disturbing them at all. Unfortunately without a big lens on my little camera this is as good it gets.


  1. i saw the swans today Derek and i also found a Heron that looked like it had also hit the wires. Saw plenty today which was nice

  2. Could you send some of those White fronts to Reculver please Derek!

  3. Lewis,
    Glad that you had a good day, it was a tad too cold for me 22 degrees in Scotland today and just 6 degrees and no sun here on Sheppey,


    We normally retain a flock of Whitefronts on the reserve unti mid-April every year, its our compensation for the early summer migrants that you get weeks before us.

  4. Is the tea pot on its side? Wonderful that it is being used as a nest site.

  5. Great news that the power company have relented and put up the new discs Derek, glad to see the Whitefronts are still around and in good numbers too!.

  6. Wilma,

    Yes, the teapot is on its side, with the top facing outwards. Robins will nest in any old thing like a teapot, an old walking boot, a nest box with an open front. Its really nice to see.