Monday 19 September 2011

Dry Days and Memories

Well, another week has passed by and its still difficult to come up with anything new from the reserve. The dryness out there now has probably exceeded last autumn's drought and it is the driest I've known it in my 25 years wardening out there. Yes, you can still see good numbers of birds at the traditional High Tide Roosts at Shellness Point and Harty saltings but on the main grazing marsh its pretty dire. Walking round each day it's very difficult to find anything substantial, a few Wheatears and Yellow Wagtails still pass through and there are usually a Chifchaff or two in the boundary hedgerows, but little else. Even the local wildfowlers have pretty much stopped coming because of a lack of wildfowl, which I suppose can't be a bad thing. Its hard to see when these conditions will change, certainly not this side of New Year I shouldn't think.
Its also getting colder in the mornings now and yesterday as I drove down to Shellness Point at dawn there were several patches of frost on a few low lying pieces of marsh. Its that awkward time of year where you start off in a coat because its so chilly and then an hour or so later, when the sun has come up, you're too hot. I took this photo yesterday morning from Shellness beach just as the sun was about to come out.

Back on the main reserve and the floating mink trap is still being used as a feeding platform by the water voles as you can see. (I've unsprung the trap to avoid catching them in it)

Even these two young marsh frogs got in on the act and were doing a bit of sunbathing. (Double click on the photo and enlarge it for a better view)

I'm afraid that the rest of the blog is aimed at a few ex-Sheppey-ites that I know read it, a few places that they might recall.
This first one is at Sheerness East. The shrubbery at the side of the RH house was the track of the old Sheppey Light Railway before it crossed the Halfway Road to the Sheerness East station, which used to be alongside where I was standing and behind me would of been the old bus station. You may recall that the RH house was a sweet shop for many years.

I moved out to the Warden Road for this next photo, the Wheatsheaf Inn, which some might of used and its still going strong today.

And just round the corner from the Warden Road is Plough Lane, probably the only lane left on Sheppey that still looks much as it always did. To the left is Garretts Farm and to the right is Connetts Farm, out on the cliffs.

From the same spot I swung right and over the top of Eastchurch Gap there is the familiar sight of the old WW2 Maunsell Forts.

And lastly, two shots of the walk along Sheerness seafront towards Garrison Point, with the Moat and the few remaining wartime buildings from the old army garrison there. Double click on each and enlarge and recall your memories from there, I took the photos standing close to where the old "Greenhill" would of been - now there's some memories we'd better not talk about!


  1. Thanks Derek, you'd make an excellent tour guide but I obviously missed out on something on the green hill at the back of the moat !
    Sorry I can't help you with your IT problem.

  2. The "Greenhill" used to stand where Tescos now is and was an old disused ammunition dump disguised by a covering of soil and grass. Its many tunnels inside were the recognised stopping off place for servicemen from the garrison alongside, with their "lady" friends.

  3. I actually really like the new way all the photos from a blog come up at once so you can thumb through them. Or you can still view them one at a time if you wish. It doesn't seem to let you "magnify" the image to the maximum size for its resolution, though. I was going to play with that a bit when posting my next entry.