I was away in Surrey over the Easter weekend and so missed the effects that weekend's Storm Katie had on Sheppey, though it was certainly dramatic where I was. On walking out onto the reserve last Tuesday though, on a fairly warm and sunny Spring morning, it was immediately clear that there had been substantial rainfall. Water levels on the reserve were easily back to those present in January, ditches were full and even overflowing in some places, there was a lot of surface water laying on the grazing meadows and The Flood field was well wet again.
However, Friday was the 1st April and with that new month came some warm and sunny weather which has continued through this weekend. It has been so refreshing walking round the reserve and feeling not only warm but flushed by the sun, the old arthritic bones feel better with each day! Not only that but a few summer migrants have started to trickle through the reserve, Chiffchaffs are present most days in the bushes, on Friday I had the first Wheatear and today, the real harbinger of Spring, a first Swallow - such joy.
Below, in the early morning sunshine today, you can see how much The Flood field has re-flooded, which technically, hasn't done some of the birds about to start ground nesting, too many favours, but this time of year it will dry back quite quickly.
A closer-up view and most of the white birds in the distance are c. 70 Avocets.
The "S Bend Ditch" as we know the fleet below, is looking quite splendid and yesterday was holding 26 Pochard, 6 Tufted Duck and numerous Gadwall. All in all The Flood yesterday was still holding a wide variety of 452 wildfowl and many Coot and waders, numbers that wouldn't of been out of place in mid-winter. Couple that with the fact that no Coot or Lapwing nests have been found so far, it is clear that it will take a few more days of this lovely weather before the breeding birds start to catch up.
In the meantime the area around the reserve does look good in the warm sun......
.....catkins have burst out on the willow trees, attracting countless bees.....
.....and the new born lambs can enjoy the warmth.