Having missed out on the snow that's been sweeping the country further north, Kent finally got the covering that's been on the cards for a while now.
Funnily enough, there was only the one car visited the reserve today: they made it to the carpark, but didn't venture any further. The access track is still passable with a bit of care, but with more snow forecast for tonight, please watch this space for information regarding potential closure of the reserve. As the top picture shows, Elmley in the snow is rather featureless and it doesn't take much for the track to disappear!
Regardless of the weather, the livestock still needed checking. We've now had to put lick buckets out for the animals to supplement their diet of frozen grass. But they still look in really good condition, so we're not having to take any off just yet. I thought Monday was cold, but the strong wind today dropped the temperature even lower. Still, while the reserve itself is more or less devoid of birds (other than 3 golden plover, the odd redshank & lapwing and a load of feral geese), the Swale was much more interesting. Highlight was the first Slavonian grebe of the winter, drifting west on the rising tide. Also 4 eiders (including a fine drake), 2 red-breasted mergansers and a single female common scoter. On the mud at Wellmarsh Creek was a flock of 1450 knot and a scatter of grey plover, dunlin, black-tailed godwit, lapwing, redshank, curlew and avocet. Thousands of duck were feeding & roosting along the tidal creeks. A green sandpiper had found an un-frozen bit of ditch inside the seawall and a ring-tail hen harrier was hunting along the seawall, but apart from a couple of wind-blown marsh harriers, other raptors were in short supply. Until a barn owl appeared later in the evening. There were also 3 fieldfares in the orchard at Kingshill Farm and a rock pipit at Swale hide. Still plenty of hares about, although this one didn't look too impressed!