Elmley Marshes

Elmley Marshes

Elmley Marshes
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Elmley Marshes

  • Latest sightings and news from Elmley Marshes

    Birds of Interest:

    Avocet c 150, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Reed Bunting, Common Sandpiper, Little Egret, Reed Warbler, Green Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Sedge Warbler, Turnstone, Teal, Whitethroat, Grey Plover, Pochard, Blackcap, Curlew, Mallard, Swallow, Cuckoo, Shoveler, Swift, Ringed Plover, Pintail (including ducklings), Linnet, Lapwing, Garganey, Goldfinch, Oystercatcher, Shelduck c150, Corn Bunting, Black-tailed Godwit, Red-crested Pochard, Bar-tailed Godwit, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe,         

    Redshank, Spotted Redshank 4, Greenshank, Snipe,  Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Skylark, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Mediterranean Gull, Raven, Common Tern.

    Now is the time:

    • The nesting season is still in full swing after a delayed start. Sitting Lapwings can still be seen across the reserve. To avoid disturbing these and all other wildlife please remain in your vehicle whilst on the approach road to and from the car park. Also please avoid taking the ‘short-cut’ between the hides. Lapwing/Redshank/Oystercatcher chicks can be seen everywhere along with broods of various ducks and geese. It has the promise of a very good season with near ideal conditions.
    • Hares are still very active showing good boxing displays. Leverets of all sizes can be seen around
    • The livestock has returned and forms part of the main workforce of the reserve. The bulls have arrived – the start to another year in the bovine calendar. You will see various breeds and cross-breeds of cattle across the NNR. Deep red Sussex/ Light brown South Devons/ Aberdeen Angus/ Herefords/ Simmental/ Limousin etc. We also have some shorn ‘shearlings’ or ‘Tegs’ at Spitend. These will go to the ram for the first time in the autumn
    • Water voles are present in most of the ditches and are more active now. The ditch to Wellmarsh hide and in front of Southfleet hide are good areas in which to see them
    • The Barn Owls are showing well in the Oaks below the farmhouse. Please observe them from the car park wall and do not be tempted to have a ‘closer look’. Thank you
    • Insects - some Peacocks/Orange Tips/tortoiseshell/White/Small Heath. A few dragonflies and damsels around but a slow start to the season.
    • Look out for flowering Salsify and Grass Vetchling
    • "Now summer is in flower & natures hum is never silent round her sultry bloom.  Insects as small as dust are never done. Wi’ glittering dance and reeling in the sun & green wood fly and blossom haunting bee, are never weary of their melody."  John Clare, June 1823. Things must have been different then...

    Other reserve news: 

    • You will have noticed the new gates and cattle grid along the entrance track. This forms part of 8km of fence we erected this winter in an effort to reduce fox predation of our ground nesting birds
    • We have ploughed 2ha of the fields close to Kingshill Farm. This was sown with a wild bird seed cover crop on 18th May. The mix includes Sunflower, Millet, Quinoa, Kale, Phacelia , Buckwheat and Chicory. Providing germination etc is successful it will provide food and cover for many birds over the winter. It will hopefully also help with our re-establishment of the Grey Partridge. As a further aide the blue feeders you can see along the edge of the cover crop provide winter food for the partridge and other birds.
  • 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 you may also see some Brown Hares. Along with Marsh Harriers, you
    can get all this even before you have parked your car!

    At the carpark and around the farm Swallows are building
    their nest in the toilet block as they do every year and making a mess, however
    we don’t mind – they are great to watch!

    The Reserve is also looking great and supporting a good
    number of nesting Lapwing and Redshank so please keep to the signposted paths to
    avoid any disturbance to them. Marsh frogs can be heard in the ditches running around/
    through the reserve. Whilst you are listening for the frogs keep your eyes open
    for water voles sitting on the very edges of the ditches or swimming across.
    Water Voles are very quick to disappear when disturbed so you will often only
    hear a small splash as evidence of one jumping back into the water.

  • Snow and Cranes.

    The recent snow fall may have stopped our work on the reserve but it hasn’t stopped the wildlife. On a recent count just before the snow fell over 7000 Wigeon, 5000 Teal as well as Pintails and Gadwall were all on the reservoir and in front of Southfleet Hide. Heading into Wellmarsh Hide we had Dunlin, Knot, Golden Plover, Bar tailed Godwit and Turnstone and also spotted 43 Barnacle Geese a bit further out in the field. Very high numbers of Lapwing all over the reserve along with Golden Plover, Curlew and 800+ Brent Geese.

    I am keeping my eye open for the Cranes that have been seen on Southern Sheppey (on the 23rd  they were sighted on the fields along Harty Ferry Road) but not on the reserve yet.