After my excellent posting yesterday about life, times and hedonism at the Ferry House Inn - mmm, perhaps I left out the hedonism bits, but think about it, late night drinking, lots of couples, out in the wilds - Harty Hedonism, it sounds better than Sheppey Sheep Sh..gging and saves on the wearing of wellie boots!
Anyway, where was I, ah yes, after that posting yesterday I was back on the reserve seawall last evening doing by request, an extra Harrier Roost count. It was quite grotty under heavy grey skies, a cold N. wind and some rain showers but if nothing else I had the company of a 122 White-fronted Geese alongside me in "The Flood Field", they sounded amazing, as only true wild geese can.
This morning, buoyed by a near perfect Spring morning of clear blue skies and very warm sunshine, I was once again on the reserve, hoping to catch up on the many Wheatears, Sand Martins, etc, seen on the mainland over the weekend. First thing that I saw again was last night's Whitefronts, still there in The Flood before taking off as I passed by - here they are. The farm buildings in the background look very close and yet they are almost two miles away.
And the Delph seawall Fleet and its reed beds with the geese re-landing further on.
But my mission this morning was Spring migrants and Wheatears in particular and I trecked all round the reserve covering habitat ideal for newly arrived and hungry Wheatears, the old salt working mound below is a typical and favourite stopping off place.
Did I find one, did I heck, I'd once again ignored the fact that here on Sheppey we normally get our Spring migrants a week or two after everybody else. We're normally getting excited about a first sighting when others are yawning bored over yet another Wheatear or Swallow.
But it couldn't be denied that it was a great day and so I took a few photos of the reserve views. The trouble there, besides a pretty basic camera, is the fact that marshland always comes out looking flat, with little perception of variation or distance. Without sensing the vibrant greeness of the new grass and the sound of Lapwings and Skylarks singing overhead it can't compete with the scenic views that you get from hedgerows and woods. Anyway, here's three that show it how I saw it this morning.
Emphasising the new growth out there this morning, this is a thick covering of wild carrot, doing its best to cover an earth bund that we stripped bare and re-landscaped last autumn.
On the same bund there were also many new young plants of Milk Thistle.
But things come to those that are good and on my back along the Harty Road on my way home, as I passed the farmland at Capel Corner, there were my first two Wheatears, such simply joy.
I arrived home, post-lunchtime. Two tired dogs fell asleep on the patio in the sun, and me, nothing else for it - sunbed out, a sandwich, a glass of best white wine, shorts on, a nap in the sun - and today's CD, Fairport Convention, with Sandy Denny singing "Who knows where the time goes" and aged 65, where the bloody hell has it gone?