Monday, 10 June 2013

Monday 10th. June 2013

An early morning email scuppered my plans for today , and with another cloudy day in prospect , I decided to head for Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey , the RSPB prefix having now been removed from the reserve sign . I started down the track as usual with both windows open and my first thought was ' is this really Summer ?' , as a cool wind blew in , and although I had thrown in a light fleece , which was quickly donned , I wish I had made it the quilted Winter one . Taking Starlings out of the
equation , there wasn't that much to see . A few Lapwing , and the odd Redshank then a mini flock of Little Egret , as they flew up from one ditch , looking as if there was an argument going on , and
settling back down in another ditch , but this time more spread out . On the track itself , a few
Skylarks were taking dust baths , one actually singing as it did so . But none let me get too close , if I
did so , they were off . The best species on the track was a male Yellow Wagtail , with head down and looking as if he was wishing that he hadn't bothered making the journey , and I knew exactly
what he meant . In the area of the two bends before the car park , there was an amazing number of Swifts feeding overhead , and there were plenty of insects for them . Every time I stopped the car , it was engulfed by a swarm of them . The grass is too long now to spot any Hares , but I'm sure they were watching me go past . I was the only car in the car park , which tells it's own story , and a usually busy area was very subdued , with just a couple of Swallow overhead , more Starlings and a
 pair of House Sparrows feeding their young in the communal nest box . Given that the tide was out as I crossed the bridge , I decided not to go down to the hides , so headed back down the track , seeing a single Marsh Harrier on the way . No Yellow Wagtail on the return , but heard one in the grass alongside . Reaching the newly installed 'predator control gate' , I found a male Kestrel using it
as a perch . The new gate is positioned on one of the cattle grids , and reading the notice , will be closed between dusk and dawn . with a fence either side in the middle of the ditch , it looks quite formidable defence against foxes , which I assume is the object , as long as the fox leaves before dusk of course . A pair of Oystercatchers were looking interested in an area , just inside the new 'secure
zone' , let's hope it works . A pair of Shellduck obviously hadn't read the notice , as they seemed to be
interested in an area , on the other side of the ditch . Lots of young rabbits about , especially around
the entrance , where I also saw this animal . It might be just the way it was sitting , and I never saw
it's hind legs , but it just looked wrong for rabbit at the time , and I wondered if it could be a leveret , a young hare , as I have never seen one before . Any thoughts ?
I moved on to have a look at the beach at Leysdown , but the tide was almost right in , so I headed back towards the raptor viewpoint at Capel Fleet . On the way , at the bend in the road , two Mute
Swans were showing off their single offspring , and keeping everything well away . 5-7 is the usual brood , so perhaps their nest was predated . From the viewpoint , I watched a male Marsh Harrier
flying backwards and forwards with sticks for it's nest . I thought he was doing a good job , but on one occasion when he returned , the female came hurtling up at him and flew off , leaving him at the
nest . Ten minutes later , she reappeared . Obviously size isn't everything in the Marsh Harrier world , or was it just a case of the 'wrong sort of stick' . The sky did lighten a bit , but the sun never came out , nor did that wind drop . When I got home , Carol was complaining of lack of wind to dry her washing , funny old world .


Phil said...

Longest day soon Greenie. So at least we can start being cold for shorter periods.
Don't know what the problem is at Elmley,it just doesn't seem the same recently.

alan woodcock said...

Hi,looks like a young Hare,long snout and ears,but I could be wrong.

Warren Baker said...

That ''Rabbit'' certainly looks odd Greenie, very long faced - must have beem the crap weather :-) I'd say young Hare.

ShySongbird said...

I'm not sure what to think about Leveret Greenie. It does looks slightly odd for a Rabbit but looking at photos of Leverets it doesn't look quite right and not sure the ears are really long enough. I've had the same problem myself in the past and never have reached a definite conclusion.

A shame you had disappointing weather for your visit but you still saw some nice birds and got some good photos.