The Last Week on the Ranch…

Wet, wild, windy, noisy, ear rattling, building shaking…  just some of the words to describe many of the days since last Sunday morning when Ciara hit.

Birdwise it may have appeared somewhat quiet with most species staying as low to the ground as possible in the gale force weather.  The Marsh Harriers and gulls appeared to enjoy the conditions and brave searching amongst the latter out on Wennington produced a fine adult Iceland Gull and several Caspians and Yellow-legged Gulls.  The Red Kites were seen playing with the air currents on Tuesday.

Marsh Harrier - Jim Campbell

Iceland Gull - Niall T Keogh

Caspian Gull - Niall T Keogh

Red Kite - HTV

Snipe have been hunkered down on the islands in front of the Purfleet Hide and a Jack Snipe came up of the foreshore during the exceptional high and litter strewn tides while the three Pipit species, Reed Buntings and Stonechats were feeding on the floating detritus.

Snipe - Jackie Thornton

Snipe - Andy Hibbard

Grey Herons, corvids and a very tenacious Kestrel were snaffling small rodents from the buoyant mass as they struggled to shore.  The Kestrel took almost fifty voles in just a couple of hours and stashed many of them in the grass and under pieces of litter for a later date.

Grey Heron - HTV

Kestrel with Short-tailed Lunch - Andy Tweed

And now we brace ourselves for Storm Dennis... the wind is already picking up..

Due to the continuing stormy conditions and increasing wind from imminent Dennis, I am giving you a heads up that there may be closures for the weekend. I shall confirm what we will be doing by the end of today although at the very least I am now cancelling the Kids Birdwatching Club for Saturday to save on wasted journeys.

The visitor centre, cafe and shop will of course remain open.