At very long last, a proper hot and sunny day on the reserve, all of a sudden those arctic memories are banished, long may this weather last.
Along the ditches and fleets now the Mare's tail - Hippuris Vulgaris, is starting to rise above the surface. This fast spreading fresh-water weed quite quickly covers and chokes up long stretches of the waterways.
On the land it has a similar looking cousin called Horse tail which is just as invasive.
These dung-flies were enjoying both the sun and a nice pat of the reserve's best quality cow poo. Double click on the photo and enlarge it and the flies come up really well and the pat looks like a lunar landscape.
In my blog on the 8th April I showed a picture of a typical area of shallow water on the marsh, that we call a "splash", ideal for Lapwing chicks - this is the same place this morning, showing how fast the marsh is starting to dry out.
The remains of this freshly eaten Redshank were laying by one of the gates this morning, presumably left by a bird of prey. Interestingly it had a discoloured ring on its remaing leg. I checked the number out with a fellow Vol. Warden, who also rings birds on the reserve as part of the Swale Wader Group www.swalewaders.co.uk and he advised the following.
It was rung at Shellness saltings as an adult in moult on 02-9-2001 and so had gone nine and a half years since ringing and was at least nearly 11 yrs old.
And finally, last week I was chuffed to find my first Coot's nest, one of only three so far, unfortunately, as the remains of this egg would show, it would appear that a Crow was just as chuffed - but I know I've had the last laugh. Enlarge the photo and you can identify the egg as a Coot's.