Sunday, 1 March 2015

The 1st of March

It was the 1st of March today and if it hadn't been for a gale force and chilly wind smashing it's way across the reserve, it could of been the first day proper of Spring. Continuous blue skies and a sun that was quite warm out of the wind made it feel springlike. As I drove through the farmland spinney onto the reserve, a couple of Chaffinchs were singing strongly and a pair of Jackdaws were noisily showing interest in the hollow part of a half dead willow tree. Even one of the reserve's resident pair of Barn Owls was sitting in a willow tree there sunning itself, not something that you would expect to see, but something that it often does.
The downside this last week has been the fact that we've had a couple of rainy spells which has brought the water levels back up slightly but with strong winds and sunshine at this time of year it is always amazing at how quickly the place can dry out again.
And so, across to the sea wall and a quick peruse through the 'scope to see if the Richards Pipit twitch was still occurring but fortunately, while I was there, it wasn't, just half a dozen well spread out birdwatchers. I did get to speak to one of the, a guy who had driven down this morning from the Midlands (Birmingham by the sound of his voice), to see the Pipit but eventually left disappointed - (who'd be a twitcher). Talking to two other birdwatchers, one of whom was the very rare Barry Wright, it seems that the Pipit had been seen but had been carried by the strong wind to gawd knows where, the strength of the wind was certainly not conducive to finding and watching the bird.
Not infected by "must see the Pipit" disease I then spent a pleasant half an hour in the Sea Wall Hide counting wildfowl and wader numbers on The Flood. The Flood looked particularly nice today, as you can see below, and although wildfowl numbers are gradually dropping, there was still a good variety of birds in there and close by (see below).

120 Greylag Geese
2 Canada Geese
40 Brent Geese
280 Shelduck
200 Wigeon
180 Teal
60 Shoveler
40 Gadwall
80 Mallard
16 Tufted Duck
60 Curlew
40 Grey Plover
120 Golden Plover
400 Lapwing
6 Snipe
70 Coot
1 Hooded Crow
4 Marsh Harrier
1 Buzzard

March can be a very pleasant cross-over month and one in which we see the end of the awful winter months. It can begin with Wigeon and Whitefronts and end with Wheatears and Sand Martins - I so hope so!


  1. Nice account Derek, I expect the migrants are on their way now. Not long until the seawalls have their first Wheatear on them.

  2. I hope that you're right Marc and I expect that as usual, Reculver will get them well before us on Sheppey.

  3. Nice report as always.

    The twitch continues Derek! I spent 5 hours down at Shellness at the other end of the Reserve yesterday and there was a steady stream of birders arriving: it was seen again on Saturday I am told. At least all well behaved and not trampling the land away from the sea wall footpath to try and flush the Pipit, as happened down there on Friday.

    I had an "enjoyable" spell on the sea wall getting blown around waiting to see if the Short-eared Owls came up in the wind. Those at a roost just on Sheppey near the bridges would go out after dusk and come back before dawn in any weather. And I mean any weather! Those at Shellness keep their heads down in the wind. Which to me proves Owls are wiser than Yetis!

    Except the Little Owl that arrived at dusk in the large bushes at the car park. Wonder where that came from.



  4. All good stuff Bryan, I saw your reports on the KOS website. The Pipit was briefly seen early yesterday morning while I was there but got up in that gale and disappeared from view.
    The fox hunt were out on Harty today, as they regularly are, and were hunting in the traditional way, as they always do.