Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Bank Holiday Blues
The Bank Holiday was gloriously warm and sunny, well except Saturday, and brought with it the influx of "smoggies", down from London to clog up Sheppey's roads and making it difficult to get out to the rural parts after mid-morning. Those awful road-side boot fairs didn't help, as people queued in their cars on the only road to eastern Sheppey in order that they could sort through other people's junk. That moan aside, it was a real joy to be able to lay in the garden sun bathing, get out on the bicycles and actually feel warm walking round the reserve at last, first thing in the morning.
A lot of my time is being taken up at the moment with identifying how many nests have survived the onslaught of various pest species and thanks to the controls that we have in place, it appears that things are looking OK at the moment. I've identified 18 Coot's nests so far and the latest Lapwing count has found 27 pairs with nests and several more potential breeding pairs (see Lapwing's nest above). Redshanks also appear to be nesting in high numbers this year and so walks through the middle of the flat marsh are now limited to the odd foray along a ditch in order to monitor the Coot breeding success.
Other than that, summer visitors are still very much depleted in numbers so far with only ones and twos of warblers in the reed beds, I still haven't heard a Cuckoo on Sheppey and still haven't seen a House Martin, although they rarely nest on Sheppey now anyway. By far the commonest summer visitor at the moment, appears to be the Whitethroat, every bit of scrub seems to have them in it.
An unusual sight for the time of year has been this herd of Mute Swans that are roosting overnight in The Flood field on the reserve. The highest count so far has been 61 birds but unfortunately they're not making themselves very popular with the neighbouring farmer by spending much of the day feeding in his rape fields.
Harty Ferry also had a visitor on Sunday in the shape of this sailing barge that moored up there overnight.
And finally, looking out of my study window towards Sheerness on Saturday evening I was entranced by this beautiful sunset, it was quite spectacular.