Wednesday 23 March 2011

A Froggy Day

It was absolutely superb on the reserve this morning, with clear blue skies and warm sunshine. The whole reserve seemed to be alive with bird song and activity and even several Peacock butterflies flew past as I walked around, they were the first butterflies on the reserve last year.
As I walked along the seawall a pair of Bearded Tits "pinged" their way along the tops of the Delph reed beds and several Reed Bunting males sung not only from the reed tops but also from chosen territories out on the saltings. Skylarks also got in on the act and regularly challenged to spot them as they became tiny, singing specks up in the blue of the sky. Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Lapwings are all paired up and the Lapwings especially, seem to be in the lead in respect of nesting and we are just waiting for the first eggs to fill the "scrapes" now.
Alongside all this springtime activity are the reminders of winter lingering on - still 200+ Whitefronted Geese, and small numbers of Teal and Wigeon loafing round the shallow pools.
These Oystercatchers were perhaps thinking about nesting.

The sun had also brought out good numbers of frogs into the reserve ditches. The two most numerous types on the reserve are the large Marsh Frogs and the Edible Frogs. The first two below are Edible Frogs, recognised by the yellow stripe down the back. Double click on the photos to enlarge them.

This photo shows an Edible Frog on the left and the larger Marsh Frog, with a plain coloured back, on the right. Sorry about the vegetation obscuring the frogs but to move to a better position would have seen both frogs disappear under the water.
During the summer months the marshes on Sheppey become really noisy from the sound of the male Marsh Frogs, their voices can be heard from a really long distance, especially at night.


  1. Derek,

    Great to meet you today and to hear more about your work on the reserve. Thanks for the directions I had a great day and will be back soon for more.

  2. A very interesting post Derek and nice that it was froggy rather than what it has been lately for you :)

    We don't see Marsh Frogs here or (as far as I know) Edible Frogs either.

    I have never seen a Bearded Tit in my area, my best bet for that is Otmoor, hopefully I will get a chance to go there again this year and perhaps see some, they are such distinctive little birds!

  3. Mike,
    I enjoyed our chat yesterday, it was nice to meet you.

    The two species of frogs are very active at the moment and a joy to see.
    Bearded Tits are fairly common on the reserve and breed in good numbers close by. Our Seawall Hide has tall reed beds around it and so some days you can sit in it and have Bearded Tits within feet of you, they are stunning birds.