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Elmley Marshes

Elmley Marshes
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  • Blog Post: ...almost autumn!

    The seasons are changing - ever so subtly, but changing they are. It's only the end of May, but the first post-breeding lapwing flocks are starting to gather. These are birds that for whatever reason have not bred this year, or have tried to breed unsuccessfully. As June progresses, their numbers...
  • Blog Post: 14th February

    In direct contrast to yesterdays gloom, today was another glorious day on the reserve and it was enjoyed by probably more people than got out on Sunday - probably not unsurprisingly. And no-one who visited in todays sunshine can have failed to be impressed by the number of birds out on the Flood. Still...
  • Blog Post: 28th Nov

    We were fog-bound yesterday, so my wander around the reserve to check the livestock didn't reveal very much. The poor visibility was compounded by the fact that the water bodies had frozen, meaning that most of the waterfowl have abandoned the reserve for the Swale. I did see at least 500 wigeon...
  • Blog Post: Not Elmley

    A friend of mine came over to the island today to do a bit of winter birding. The recent cold snap has frozen the reserve, with the result that most of the bird interest stays outside the seawall on the Swale. As a result, we decided to head elsewhere today. First stop was the beach at Minster, on the...
  • Blog Post: Blue-green blues

    I thought that we'd got rid of it, but once again certain bits of the reserve are experiencing a "bloom" of blue-green algae. It's not actually an alga at all, as it's "proper" name is cyanobacteria. These are photosynthesising bacteria, that can affect water quality when...
  • Blog Post: June 10th

    The showery weather continues, although I think I'll still have to put some more water onto the Flood. I went out this evening to check on one of the cows out there. It was OK, but some of the pools are looking low, despite the rain. But the shallow water is what the avocets love and i counted a...
  • Blog Post: A touch of the exotic

    After yesterdays beautiful, almost spring-like day, with wall-to-wall sunshine, singing skylarks & the first tentative signs of lapwing display, things were sadly back to normal today. Dull, dull, dull. Still the gloom was brightened briefly at lunchtime when i nipped down to check pumps/sheep etc...
  • Blog Post: Wagtails and Water voles!

    There is a lot of activity at Elmley Marshes at the moment. The drive down to the car park is fantastic with close views of displaying Lapwing and Redshanks wandering closely along the track. I can confidently say you are very likely to see at least one stunning Yellow Wagtail and if you are sharp eyed...
  • Blog Post: Here come the gadwalls..

    The forecasters got it right today - lousy they said & lousy it was. Still, more signs of the impending arrival of spring. Not just the odd skylark in song (even today) or the displaying lapwing (definitely NOT today!), but the increasing numbers of that most subtle of ducks, the gadwall. Still...
  • Blog Post: 27th October

    Things have been a bit quiet on the reserve over the past few days, although even in "quiet" periods there's usually something of interest around the reserve. On the 25th, a short-eared owl, a wheatear & 3 brambling were around Kingshill Farm. On Monday, 2 little stint were present...
  • Blog Post: Wader extravaganza

    You never can tell. Down to the reserve mid-morning to do various pump-related jobs and I paused on the counterwall at Wellmarsh and scanned the Flood. It wasn't an especially high tide today, but the pool in front of the hide was covered in waders. So I detoured briefly to get a count. Half an hour...
  • Blog Post: Rough-legged buzzard

    Well, what a change from yesterday. From dull with persistent rain, to a bright, frosty start, atmospheric early mist soon clearing & a gloriously sunny day (though still quite parky) to follow. A good day for seeing raptors. Disappointingly, I had to spend a chunk of the day in the office doing...
  • Blog Post: It's goose-mongous, mate

    For anyone out there with a penchant for flocks of honkers, Elmley is the place to be at the moment. I am of course referring to geese - not necessarily all wild, but there are a lot here at the moment, both in numbers and varieties. I counted 7 types this afternoon, and possibly missed at least one...
  • Blog Post: Just a day late this time

    I've spent the last couple of days fairly intensively scouring the reserve for broods of lapwing chicks. In the end, we found a total of 22 broods, totalling 42 chicks - not great, but better than last year & considering the way the water is disappearing, I'm quite pleased with the total...
  • Blog Post: At last...!

    Well, they've been a while coming, but finally today they arrived! Out this afternoon in beautiful sunshine to check the livestock. The grazier & his vet had been in y/day to see how many of his cows were pregnant and we were pleased to learn that they all were, which is quite a rare occurence...
  • Blog Post: VIP visit

    We had to comb our hair and run a hoover over the office today, as we welcomed a couple of VIP's to the reserve. Chris Corrigan, the SouthEast Regional Director and Mike Henderson, a Lib Dem councillor on Swale Borough Council visited and were gven the grand tour. The weather could have been better...
  • Blog Post: Been a long time since I rock & rolled..

    Well, here we are again. After a lot of investigation & loads of techy stuff waaay over my head, the bottom line is that I am now able to get onto the RSPB website from Elmley. So hopefully, normal service has been resumed. It's been about a month since my last update and in terms of water...
  • Blog Post: Shepherding

    Our sheep grazier rang yesterday to let me know that he was bringing up his rams to the reserve today (next years lambs!) and that the flock of tegs ( last years lambs) were due their inoculations. So it was out on the quad this morning to drive the 213 tegs off the Flood and into the pens. They've...
  • Blog Post: I come from the land of the ice & snow...

    Anticipation is mounting for the impending arrival of a benevolent elf from Lapland. But as far as I'm concerned, he's been beaten to the UK by a number of his fellow compatriots! RSPB are now managing a number of fields on the Harty Marshes at the east end of the Isle of Sheppey. We have acquired...
  • Blog Post: "Go, Cows!"

    A busy day on the reserve today, with the grazier coming in to pick up the last of his cattle, so we were out first thing to get them into the pens, ready for the lorry to arrive. We may bring in some other animals, just to "tickle" the sward a bit, but there's not much cow food left. Still...
  • Blog Post: A bit more like it!

    Well, the promised sunshine finally arrived today. And what a difference! Splendidly sunny (although still with a cool northerly breeze), it's really starting to feel more like spring. One of the sure signs was evident this afternoon, when a distinctive squealing call revealed a male marsh harrier...
  • Blog Post: Not so "flaming" June

    And thank Crunchie for that! They say that us Brits have a bit of a weather fixation, but as the Warden of a wetland nature reserve, the "fixation" is probably bordering on "obsession". I really was starting to get a bit concerned by the way that water was disappearing from the reserve...
  • Blog Post: Red kite

    Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day! Sunny all day, hardly any wind, fabulous. And lots of people agreed, as I've not seen the car park as full in a long time. Which made it even worse, as I was still feeling like death on a stick, trying to shake off the cold bug that had overwhelmed me last...
  • Blog Post: Visitors 2 Wardens 0

    Following Rob Clements rough-legged buzzard that I missed on Monday, Phil Sharp came in on Wednesday (when I was away from the reserve) and found 2 shorelarks near to Southfleet hide. He even managed to get a photo. As far as I know, this is the first record of these fantastic northern larks at Elmley...
  • Blog Post: home again..

    Back at Elmley having spent 3 days in York at the RSPB Warden's Gathering (which included a very enjoyable trip to a previous stomping ground at Blacktoft Sands - plenty of good birds, including at least 26 spotted redshanks, 3 curlew sandpipers & a skein of pink-footed geese headed south. If...