Well, despite all my best efforts this last couple of weeks, I still can't find what should be an easy Spring migrant to find, a Wheatear, it's becoming an obsession and getting silly and so I shall give up on that one and move on. Instead, somewhere below, I'll simply post a winter photo taken by my girlfriend of a female Marsh Harrier.
At the moment the reserve seems to be stuck in some kind of winter time-warp with both a lack of summer migrants and breeding birds. Perhaps with the winter being fairly mild it has made everything seem as though it should be more advanced that what it is, it is only early April after all. The grass on the reserve has been slow to begin greening up and re-growing so far and on several of the grazing meadows it remains yellow and as short as a bowling green. This means that grazing for the cattle and their calves, desperate to be outside after being in stock pens during the winter/spring, is still at a real premium and only a few have been put back on the reserve so far.
I have also been wandering round some of the ditches over the last week or so, looking for Coots nests which are normally fairly common by now, but so far have found none. In fact on The Flood the Coots are still to be found in a flock of some eighty odd birds as they would be in the winter, what is going on? The first of this season's Lapwing breeding counts also took place last week and out of a possible 52 pairs of Lapwings present only 13 birds were actually on nests.
Perhaps with very warm and sunny weather due over the next couple of days things will dramatically change and the Swale NNR will start to move into Spring proper, I hope so.