Last Tuesday night we had a few hours of rain, which after several weeks with no appreciable rain, was most welcome. However the following day saw very warm sun and strongish winds and the moisture disappeared very quickly and so we continue with increasingly dry countryside here in North Kent. The grazing marshes are now looking quite yellow and dry and water is disappearing quite fast. Just look at what is normally the large splash of water in the Flood Field on the reserve, it seems to disappear by several inches almost daily and unfortunately will now not get replenished until winter rains.
Likewise this large clump of water lilies in one of the fleets, only a few weeks ago the water was almost level with the upper leaves of the plants. It's all part of the annual cycle of events here on the North Kent marshes as I've mentioned before, water-logged in winter and bone dry in summer, although this year water levels have hung on longer than usual.
However, the continual warm, sunny and dry days has seen an upsurge in butterfly numbers, with really good numbers of the various brown butterflies now on the wing, including this Small Copper.
And some late broods of wild pheasants have also been seen on the adjacent farmland, presumably soon to be joined by many hundreds of their hand reared cousins, ready for the new shooting season.
While I'm talking about shooting it's amazing that we're only three weeks away now from the resumption of wildfowling in front of the reserve, the last six months since the last season ended seems to have wizzed by. It's no secret that I get on OK with these guys and they have a minimal effect on what wildfowl we get on the reserve, mainly because the reserve only gets wet enough to attract good numbers of ducks for the last couple of months of the winter.