Elmley Marshes

Elmley Marshes
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  • 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: A deadly hunter

    Dare I say it was almost a bit "samey" on the reserve today? Two little stint, a spotted redshank, a few black-tailed godwit and a green sandpiper on the Flood? Check. Raptors- Peregrine, buzzard, merlin, marsh harrier? Check. Nah! Let's face it - that's a pretty decent days...
  • 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: Snow bunting

    The single female snow bunting was still present at it's favoured patch by Swale hide today (22nd). But while we're welcoming our winter visitors, don't forget that there are still summer birds heading south: also around the reserve today a swallow, a wheatear and a chiffchaff. A ring...
  • Blog Post: Roughly speaking

    With no sign of "our" rough-legged buzzard since the Bank Holiday Monday and with the gale force winds of the ensuing few days, the news of a bird on Saturday at Northward Hill reserve made me think that it was likely to be the Elmley bird relocating a bit further west. Venturing over there...
  • Blog Post: More signs of spring (but a bad day for the BAPs)

    Not anything to do with birds in this instance. I'm referring to the fact that the hazel catkins are out around Kingshill Farm and the first great crested newts are starting to emerge from hibernation. The catkins are obvious enough, but the newts are generally far more secretive. The reason that...
  • Blog Post: 10th September

    I thought I'd let one of the Elmley regulars, Sean Huggins summarise the days sightings, courtesy of a posting on the Kent Ornithological Society's website - he spent more time on the reserve than me y/day! "Another excellent wader session at Elmley over the big spring tide yesterday...
  • Blog Post: 9th Nov

    The juvenile spoonbill was again on the Flood today over the high tide period, although showing a little more distantly than on Sunday. The windier conditions today meant that the tide was higher than forecast and an impressive wader roost built up on the islands at Wellmarsh hide. The majority were...
  • Blog Post: September update

    Time for another of my rather infrequent updates, as I STILL can't access the RSPB website from Elmley. We're still trying to fix the problem, but it's a slow process. Highlight of the month so far was the discovery of a grey phalarope on the Flood reservoir on Saturday night. It was still...
  • 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: All change please, all change

    Straight back into the day-to-day reserve work. We've just spent a fair chunk of the last 2 days getting the sheep off-site (they're going back to Sussex to lamb). So a lorry arrived on Thursday morning, one load of sheep were rounded up & c.120 were shipped out. On Friday 2 lorries arrived...
  • Blog Post: 23rd March

    With light winds & sunny skies, I was quite hopeful that today would produce our first yellow wagtail or garganey of the year. Alas, I was disappointed, but the variety of raptors around today made up for it. Both male & ring-tail hen harrier were seen, along with a merlin, at least 3 buzzards...
  • Blog Post: The past week

    Having been away over the bank holiday at Spurn Bird Obs (am I the only person in the world not to have seen "that" dress?) and only now seeming to get 10 minutes to myself since my return, I thought it was about time that we had a bit of a catch up. The drought continues: there was 0.3mm...
  • Blog Post: 6th Jan

    Well, there's no denying that we could use a bit of rain, but what a dismal day! The steady rain set in pretty much from the off and then didn't relent all day. Naturally, our cattle grazier had decided to come up today to take off the first lot of cows that will be calving in the next month...
  • Blog Post: Pezza vs. the ET

    WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS IMAGES THAT SOME VIEWERS MAY FIND DISTRESSING I made a comment on the forum about the diversity of some birds of prey diets. Not so the peregrine. It's almost exclusively feeds on other birds, usually caught on the wing. According to Birds of the Western Palearctic...
  • 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: 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: Here we go again..!

    As predicted, more freezing conditions and another dollop of snow hit the reserve over the weekend. The access track is still passable with care, but the reserve was pretty empty today. There were a few flocks of lapwing roosting on the frozen water bodies and one small group of golden plover in with...
  • 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: I see light at the end of the tunnel. Hope it's not a train...

    Fingers crossed, the Elmley/RSPB website saga could soon be rectified. It seems that the mobile phone connection we use for our computer system at Kingshill Farm has been routing requests to access the website to a different address & so the operation "times out" before the mistake is realised...
  • 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: 11th September

    The high tide roost at Elmley today saw 24 curlew sandpipers & 6 little stint, along with 193 dunlin, 3 spotted redshank, 2 ruff, 150 avocet, 5 bar-tailed & 25 black-tailed godwit, 2 turnstone, 200 ringed plover, 1 common & 3 green sandpiper & a greenshank. Raptors included a merlin,...
  • Blog Post: Mr Blue Sky

    The weather over the past few days has, by & large, been fantastic! Gloriously sunny days, light (or even no) winds, crisp & clear. On Saturday afternoon, the visibility was so good that, looking through my 'scope from Kingshill Farm, I could pretty much count how many people (12 - 15 I thought...
  • Blog Post: Here come the geese..

    Having predicted in y/day's blog the likely arrival of wild geese onto the reserve, it turns out that they've already started to arrive. I heard this morning that a flock of 10 white-fronted geese were out on the marsh between Kingshill Farm and the Flood yesterday, where there was also 3 pink...