Elmley Marshes

Elmley Marshes
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  • Blog Post: it's curlew sand-tastic

    Most of yesterdays taiga sandpipers had moved on today - only a few green sandpipers & no reports of wood sandpiper at all. However these were replaced by a flock of high Arctic breeders as 46 curlew sandpipers appeared on the Flood at high tide. These were all juveniles, so it looks as though curlew...
  • 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: Rouzel

    Don't you just love bird watchers vernacular? The spoonbill was still on the Flood today, as were 2 spotted redshank and a ruff, amongst all the nesting activity of avocets, lapwing & redshank + a variety of ducks & assorted other waterfowl. A single whimbrel was in the field near Southfleet...
  • 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: 15th August

    A quick tour of the hides on the top of the tide produced some excellent birding. But before that, a look over the saltmarsh from the benches at Wellmarsh produced 2 black terns, 250 grey plover, 50 dunlin, 2 whimbrel & 2 bar-tailed godwit. Around the Flood, now 2 little stints (an adult & a...
  • 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: 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: 14th August

    An adult little stint was new on the Flood today, while the adult curlew sandpiper remains, but was particularly elusive. Other waders included 26 dunlin, 8 spotted redshank, 5 greenshank, 50 black-tailed godwit, 17 golden plover, 3 LRP & 4 ruff. Migrants around Kingshill Farm included willow...
  • Blog Post: Up with the lark

    Today was the first "field by field" census of the year for this breeding season. We carry out 3 of these to record the breeding populations across the site, walking through every field & aiming to get to within 100m of all points on the reserve. Elmley's quite a big area, so to cover...
  • 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: 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: 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: Temminck's stint

    There were still at least 18 juv curlew sandpipers and one little stint up on the high tide today, but the star turn was a rather un-assuming mud coloured wader that pottered about in front of Southfleet hide this evening - an adult Temminck's stint. A few pairs of these tiny waders nest on occasions...
  • Blog Post: ...and another thing!

    Having had a mild rant in my last blog about birding abbreviations, I thought I'd carry on about another pet hate of mine! Sitting in Southfleet hide this evening, I had the surreal experience of watching SpongeBob SquarePants float across the Flood. "How amusing" I hear you say. Unfortunately...
  • Blog Post: Garganey

    About time too! I've been looking out for our first garganey of the year for a couple of weeks now. This is our only summer migrant duck, the first birds arriving back in the UK from their African wintering grounds as early as Mid-March, although most push through later in April & May. The drakes...
  • Blog Post: 5th July

    Just a single spoonbill again on the Flood this evening, dropping in at c.7pm in front of Southfleet hide. There was also a single wood sandpiper, 2 green sandpiper and a ruff from here. Totals of 11 spotted redshank and 300 black-tailed godwit also on the Flood. A female pochard has her brood of developing...
  • Blog Post: Pectoral sandpiper

    The first rare of the autumn was found at Counterwall hide this afternoon. An adult pectoral sandpiper arrived in the company of a couple of ruff & stuck around, often showing very well right in front of the hide. Pec's are usually regarded as "Yanks", but their breeding range extends...
  • 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: 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: 2nd August

    No sign today of Saturday's pectoral sandpiper, but wader numbers & variety continue to increase. High tide this evening saw the following waders on the reserve: 12 spotted redshank, 1 greenshank, 275 curlew, 4 whimbrel, 5 ruff, 105 black-tailed godwit, 1 bar-tailed godwit, 35 grey plover, 7...
  • 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...
  • Blog Post: 2nd April

    There's now been up to 3 spoonbills on the Flood on a daily basis since last weekend, but only 2 were present today. And I could only see one this evening, but hopefully one or more will hang around until tomorrow. Raptors today included 2 each of buzzard, sparrowhawk & peregrine + ring-tail...
  • Blog Post: First swallow

    A nice sunny morning, with a light south-easterly blowing and the years first swallow duly arrived. Up until recently, I'd never seen a swallow in March before. Now it's almost expected. Displaying lapwing are becoming ever more obvious and even the redshank are starting to make a bit of noise...