Monday 18 March 2024

Elmley Visits.

 So far this year I have managed to get to Elmley Nature Reserve twice. Once in January, with David, and then a couple of weeks ago with Lisa.

The visit with David was on a very cold day. Unbeknown to us at the time, there were massive delays on the road that day just south of Emley at the junction with the M2. This is ongoing major roadworks which were causing delays of traffic going north of well over an hour. The satnav did know and was sending us down lots of single lane roads, which on that particular day were also very icy. We passed one van that had slid off into a ditch and also saw a coming together of a couple of cars. At one point when a car was coming towards us I just touched the brakes and slid some distance heading straight for the other car. Fortunately, the car did stop in time as well as keeping in a straight line. It nearly turned into a very expensive day.

Anyway, eventually we did arrive and had a pretty good day at the reserve, despite not getting any particularly good pictures. We did see a rather nice distant male Hen Harrier, and the usual waders along the track, and later in the afternoon a couple of Barn Owls and some Short-eared Owls.


Barn Owl.

Short-eared Owl.

With the later trip with Lisa, we were expecting similar problems with the traffic, so we left home very early, and of course we sailed through in record time, getting to the reserve 40 minutes before it even opened!! At least we had our breakfast with us, so we could eat that at our leisure. Once we were onto the reserve we saw plenty of  Lapwing and Redshank, a species that was not seen surprisingly in the earlier visit. A couple of these Redshank also performed very well for us.



We also located one of the resident Little Owls, sitting on the old school building.

Little Owl.

Elmley is well known for its numbers of Brown Hare. We ended up seeing around 10 of these beautiful animals. Most were well out in the fields, but 2 were hunkered down quite near the track in the scrubbier grasses. It wasn't easy getting the car into the exact spot to see through the tangle of grasses to get a clear head shot, but it was just about possible.

Brown Hare.

Very near the Hares was a female Kestrel that was hunting very close to the car. With only a 500mm it was actually difficult some of the time getting the whole of the bird in the frame. It was a little better when it moved a bit further away!!

Female Kestrel.

Unfortunately, with it being a little breezy, the Short-eared Owls didn't really show for us before we had to leave, as the gates are locked at 4pm at this time of year. We did see a couple, but one was distant and the other dropped from a fence post onto the ground and stayed there for the duration. It probably caught some prey, so didn't need to hunt again for a couple of hours.

We left the reserve hoping for another clear run, but that was soon scuppered when the road south of the M2 was closed!! Still, it wasn't too bad a drive home following the diversion.


  1. You probably get fed up with people saying "Oh ! Wow ! " but ........your photos are just so ...."Oh ! Wow ! 🦉🌿

  2. Thanks Debs. Really pleased you like them!!