Monday, 17 November 2014

It's getting wetter

Continuing the wet theme that I started in my last posting, the photos below show how it's now pretty certain that we are going to repeat last winter's flooding of the marsh and several hour's of more rain overnight added to that certainty. But at least it was a clear and sunny morning as I begun my walk/wade round.
Underneath this water is the main track round the reserve and Midge didn't look as keen as Ellie at having to enter it.

 But she soldiered on, there was a lot more to come, but I guess her twelve year old bones feel it now just as mine do.

Below I'm looking back down the track we'd just waded through.

With the grazing marsh to the side looking just as wet.

 Like I said, there was more to come, after going through this gateway......... turn left into another section of flooded track, which just about remained below the top of my wellies and here the dogs took the sensible option.

 Looking back through the gateway. It's gonna be another long and arduous winter of wellies, water and mud.

 Below is the Flood Field, taken from the Sea Wall Hide, and awaiting some wildfowl.

Despite near perfect conditions the wildfowl, especially ducks, still remain scarce. At dawn on both Saturday and Sunday there was just the one wildfowler out on the saltings each day and they spent most of the time, like me, staring at an empty sky, although I couldn't be as bored as they probably were. But at least there are the resident Greylag Geese to keep the numbers up and today 150 of them were joined in the Flood by 12 White-fronted Geese - lovely to hear them calling again.
The euphoria of the blue skies and sunshine didn't last long though, after an hour or so a large and ominous dark grey cloud began to drop rain over the mainland hills and head my way. The weatherman on Countryfile last night promised a mild and dry week ahead but it was raining as I later left the reserve, why do they get paid for such inaccuracies!
What else did I see as I waded and slithered round, well not a great deal but then a lot of time is spent looking downwards, avoiding deep water, deep mud and cow shit. But I added a ringtail Hen Harrier, 4 Marsh Harriers, 1 Peregrine, 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, 14 Meadow Pipits, 2 Stonechat, 300 Starling and around a dozen or so Skylarks.


  1. Just love your posts as an ex Sheppey girl! I have never felt so connected to the island since I left - thank you!

  2. Another interesting read Derek. The long range forecast look set for a wet winter Derek. Maybe I will have to learn to swim before i can get over the marsh again.!!

  3. Well thanks The Editor - makes my blogging all worthwhile. I love Sheppey and have been been so happy to have spent all my life here, whereabouts did you live here.
    Mike - thanks again. I guess the reserve currently looks like how we would want it to look but it sure makes for difficult walking round, especially with my arthritic old feet but the dogs keep me going back every day.

  4. I live in Norfolk now but keep returning for another Sheppey 'hit'. There is still much of the island which is as it was in the fifties - the view towards the Swale as you come down Elm Lane brings back many pleasant memories. I was at school with the Robinsons - do they still farm at Elmley? I shall eagerly await your next post.

  5. I agree, fortunately there is still a lot of Sheppey that remains as it was - the view as you go past Tadwell Farm entrance in Elm Lane is quite spectacular, as is Tadwell farm itself, a beautiful farm.
    Robinsons farming at Elmley? - from the 1930's until early 1970's, the Gransden family farmed at Elmley, I'm not aware of any Robinsons being there. There were Robsons however, farming at Brambledown and looking across to Elmley. And on the subject of Elmley, did you read Martha's story one of my postings from a year or so ago. You didn't say where you used to live, and my next posting should be out in the next day or so.