Archive for November, 2021

The church of St Thomas the Apostle, Harty lies in the middle of Harty Marsh on the Isle of Sheppey, off the north coast of Kent. The Church dates from the late 11th or early 12th century, with later additions in the late 14th or early 15th century. It was last restored in 1878-80. The village of Harty is mentioned in the doomsday book (1086) and was a much busier place until the ferry between the island and the mainland stopped running in 1946 (replaced by a bridge at the western end of the island). It is now surrounded by farmland and nature reserves.

Inside there are a number of features worth seeing including the Rood Screen (1350-75) and a 14th-century Flemish chest. The stained glass, although mostly 20th century has many themes connected to local farming.

Last week Keith, Sue, and I spent a day birdwatching on the Isle of Sheppey, off the north coast of Kent. Our first stop was south of the town of Leysdown on the eastern end of the island. There had been a party of Shore Larks here for a few days and we hoped to catch up with these attractive but increasingly rare winter visitors to the UK. We had only just arrived when a pair of birdwatchers further along the sea wall were signalling to us and we were soon looking at a group of 4 Shore larks on the field below us. They then flew up onto the sea wall to give us even clearer views. There was also a large party of Brent Geese on the mudflats.

From here we drove west and took the Harty road towards the south coast of the island. This long and winding road crosses Harty Marshes with opportunities for birdwatching along the route. At one stop we saw a distant White-fronted Goose in a field, but we were struck by the absence of birds of prey, except for a lone Kestrel, along the way. This may in part have been a result of the strong winds that were blowing all day.

At the end of this road is Harty Ferry, the site of the old ferry to the mainland (now replaced by a road bridge at the western end). Scanning the marshes, we had a selection of wading birds including Oystercatcher, Curlew and a single Godwit. Two Marsh harriers were seen distantly but along with another two kestrels, these were the only birds of Prey.

Soon it was time to make our way back across Harty Marsh towards home, stopping briefly at a site just by the bridge to the mainland, where we saw a small flock of thrushes. Unfortunately, we were unable to identify them before they flew off. Were these a group of newly arrived winter thrushes?

A good day with the highlight being the wonderful views of Shore Lark.

An amazing outburst of Fungi

Posted: November 10, 2021 in Natural History
Tags:
Tree in garden

The other day I noticed this collection of fungi around one tree in the garden. I have never seen such a large collection of fungi here before.

Here is a photo of a liner that was laid up off Paignton during my recent trip together with an amazing Devon sunset.

It had apparently been there for many months during the pandemic but left on our final day to resume its cruising duties.