Monday 20 December 2010

Snow on The Swale


With our Harrier Roost count cancelled yesterday and this morning's WEBS count suffering the same fate, both because of the severe weather and worries that the Harty Road running across the marshes might be a tad dangerous to navigate, I set off at 10.00 this morning in temps of -4 to investigate. I needed to get out after all day indoors yesterday.
Well as you can see from the photo below the road was indeed snow and ice covered and with a deep ditch to one side doesn't allow much leeway should you get into a slide but it wasn't quite as bad as it looked and I was driving a 4x4.

Rather than drive right down onto the reserve I left my car at Elliots Farm, by the side of the Harty Road, and walked down onto the reserve and made mt way across snow covered fields towards the seawall. The photo below shows the well frozen Delph Fleet alongside the seawall and part of the marsh to the left. In the distance you can just see the Seawall Hide.

As you will see below, on the top of the seawall I took a photo looking towards Shellness and with the saltings to the right - quite a bleak view don't you think.

However whilst I was there we had full sun and blue skies and despite it being a tad cold it was unexpectedly very picturesque. Unlike our mid-Kent cousins however, you can't still go out in woods and hedgerows in this weather and still see the same good numbers of a wide range of birds, the bleakness of the picture reflects how few birds that there were around, apart from out on the sea in the Swale itself. There most of the wildfowl had escaped too and in quite high numbers but on the marsh there were just a few small flocks of Skylarks and some thrushes along the boundary bushes.

As you can see below the snow was deep enough to cover all the grass and the cattle must of been wondering where and when their next meal was going to come from, probably not from the farmer's profits.

The view from the barn, back up the track to the reserve entry gate and with the snow making Midge look less white than she normally does.


  1. An interesting read again Derek and very nicely illustrated. It certainly does look bleak but Midge seemed to be enjoying the view :) I knew nothing at all about your area before discovering your blog, it is a totally different landscape from anything I am familiar with so it is interesting to see and read about.

    It was -16C here on Sunday night, I can tell you it felt like it too!!

  2. Jan,

    It got down to about -7 here on Sunday night and that felt bad enough but -16 must of been scary. When its very cold in the winter those marshes can be both freezing and very unforgiving and not a place for the faint-hearted.