Monday, 8 June 2015

Summer at Last

At last, a week after my last posting, it appears that summer really has arrived, we've had the hottest day of the year so far, followed by several very warm and sunny days.
The recent early mornings on the reserve have seen clear blue skies and rapidly warm sunshine after surprisingly chilly nights and everywhere has seemed new and fresh. Just after dawn yesterday morning I stood on the reserve below Harty Church and admired this local sailing barge as it sat at anchor just off the mouth of Faversham Creek.

The large dark area on the saltings, below, is a depression that normally fills with water at each Spring Tide and during late summer into winter is used as a site for catching and ringing wading birds at night.

This is a rear view of the tiny Harty Church with it's fantastic views across The Swale to the mainland.

A closer view of the church rear and graveyard.

A view across the flat grazing marsh of the reserve towards Leysdown, a habitat that makes up c.70% of the reserve.

The seawall fleet (known as The Delph), and it's reed beds and the sea wall with a bush atop it.

Some of the resident Greylag Geese flock. The flock disperses across Harty during the Spring and Summer and only 40-50 remain on the reserve during that time. By early winter their numbers will normally increase to c.300-400 birds.

This last week I have been making an attempt at getting some kind of idea of the number of the smaller breeding birds that there are on the reserve. Birds such as Reed and Sedge Warblers are always difficult to count accurately due to the fact that their nests are always hidden away in reed beds and the like. Really, the best one can do is count how many cock birds are singing and therefore advertising territories and as a result I came up with 46 Singing Reed Warblers and 5 Sedge Warblers. If we class those numbers as breeding pairs then the Reed Warblers are clearly doing very well.


  1. Happy to see that summer has at last found you. The slow warmup to rainy season has found us; nice to be collecting water in our cisterns. Haven't been able to post recently because the internet connection is awful at best! Today is OK - I can at least read some blogs, but still can't upload anything. Cheers.

  2. Good to hear from you Wilma and yes, we have actually had several warm days and even one day of 27 degrees. Hardly matching the weather where you live but summer to us.

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  4. Interesting post as usual Derek, I esp. liked the shots of the church. Who lives in the adjacent big house these days ?
    You won't forget to send me the NNR breeding figures when complete will you ?
    Ken L

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  6. Ken,
    There are four Burden brothers that farm a large chunk of Harty and elsewhere and also own and run the Ferry House Inn. One of the brothers lives in Sayes Court, the house next to the church. The other side of the church, where the old schoolhouse was, is a new bungalow where their mother now lives.
    You will of course get any breeding reports for the reserve that we achieve.