I so love this time of year. I went to bed last night at just after 10 'clock with a degree of daylight still lighting up the bedroom and a Blackbird still singing in the garden - just magical.
Taking a leaf out of my good friend, The Weaver of Grass, I was on the reserve at 5.45 this morning, away from the madding crowd, away from the doom and gloom from the Remainers, away from the jubilation of the Leavers (of which I was one), just the early morning stillness of the marsh. "Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly come in the morning where I wandered and listened" as Dylan Thomas wrote, and I happily absorbed the early morning glory that so many people miss. Kenneth Graham captures it so perfectly in the Wind in the Willows and the chapter "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn".
And indeed, as the dawn clouds broke up, a very warm sun sped across the marsh and bathed it in pleasant stillness and I was serenaded by the larks above and the marsh frogs below. A few Swifts circled the grazing meadows and the cattle, Oystercatchers noisily advised me that they had chicks near by
Brewers Farm, outside the reserve, looked snug among it's trees and in the foreground were the white flowers of the grasses.
Grasses must be one of the most over-looked features of the countryside. People barely notice them in their rush to record or photograph birds, butterflies or flowers but in flower, they do have a subtle beauty. Just look at this clump here......
.....and in close up, what not to like, the colour and the shape are as good as any orchid.
And so many different types, the names of which I don't know.
Even the rampant Club Rush can look quite amazing if you get up close to it, the whole genus are so over-looked.
I also came across some mushrooms this morning, an early reminder of how wet and warm it has been.
The Tower Hide watched over me and the whole of the reserve as I ambled by and on it's roof in the RH corner a Kestrel sat, a gatekeeper perhaps.
Before I left, I had to take yet one more photo of a ditch. I love them and all that they contain and represent. Sixty odd years ago, as a nine year old, I would often wander across the marshes near my home and spend summer's evenings sitting beside the ditches. I would be fascinated by the sticklebacks, the pond skaters, the Moorhens and everything else that made up a ditch. They have always been there in my life, given that I have spent sixty years exploring the marshes of Sheppey.