April Newsletter

  • 03/04/2017
  • Nature Notes

News from The Reserve in April

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Autumn & Winter opening hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We are closed on Tuesdays.
Late closing for Friends will be the first Thursday of each month - 6th April, 4th May, 1st June, 6th July, 3rd August, 7th September, 5th October).

April promises to be a busy month, with the majority of our 800 cows are 'turning out' over the next few weeks as the long days and mild weather allows the grass to sprout. The cows with calves at heel will be spread thinly across the marshes to avoid unsettling the sitting hen birds or trmapling (or 'poaching') their precious eggs. As Richard says below, we are now well underway!

Litter pick - the recent gales have blown a huge amount of plastic and other rubbish off the Swale and onto the marsh. If you would like to help clean up the sea walls and adjacent reed beds and ditches do join us - 10:00 on Saturday 8th April. We will meet in the car park and finish with tea and biscuits! Here's a look at 2015's efforts.

A reminder - Spring management work on the marsh - As the lapwing and redshank begin to pair up and establish territories you will notice the livestock have left for lambing and calving and that we have started our Spring work. To that end a quad will be running a daily route around the marsh, both at Elmley and the Swale NNR. This Spring management work will ensure that conditions are a good as we can possibly make them for the breeding birds, their eggs and later their chicks. Rest assured that the quads stick to a single route which avoids any nests (which we mark) and time on the marsh is kept to an absolute minimum. If you are asked by new visitors what the team are doing do please let them know that it is annual work which produces over 350 fledged lapwing and more redshank each year. If anyone is interested in specific information do get in touch or ask when you visit.

New loos are in and working at the end of the car park. Do point any confused visitors to them. We will be adding a wind screen over the next few weeks too.

Well it’s all kicked off now, Lapwings look to be nesting in similar numbers to last year, with the first chicks expected over the Easter weekend , the water levels look good enough to sustain them, as long as we have a few April showers, and no extended periods with warm winds.
Redshanks,Oystercatchers and Skylarks also in good numbers.
We haven’t seen much in the way of migrants, only one passage Wheatear on the 13th not seen since. Today however, 1st April, our first two Swallows turned up.
The Common Crane from Swale NNR seems to have relocated to Elmley, we saw him on the 13th and 27th.
Talking to Bryan (the Owl guy) this morning, we think there are at least 3 Short Eared Owls still around, indeed we were observing two at their roosts as we spoke.He was telling me that he had retrieved a few pellets from around the roost and had dissected them, in one he found the leg of a small bird, with a ring attached. He sent the details off to Euring, and received a reply saying that it was from a Dunlin ringed in Gdansk in Poland.
Please, Please stay in your cars until you reach the car park at all times, but especially at this time. Thankyou!

Thank you very much to Barry whom has very generously devoted time to help with the Friends admin. We are now sending a reminder for subs renewals and have a concise handout booklet for visitors to take as they wish at the entry gate.

Late opening, as mentioned last month, has restarted this year with a good number staying late last Thursday. Future dates are the first Thursday of each month: 6th April, 4th May, 1st June, 6th July, 3rd August, 7th September, 5th October.

2017 stickers now available for collection or send a SAE to us - Kingshill Farm, Elmley, Kent, ME12 3RW.

Large Owl