Cray River project boss Michael Heath, Chris Rose, Ray, Ron Pearson and Wren Rose turned out for a planning meeting at Thames Road Wetland on Wednesday 16th, despite the persistent rain, but first cleared a blockage of rubbish in the River by By-way 105.
Having opted to use a grappling hook from the bank, rather than the more time-consuming alternative of rowing the boat down from the yard, it transpired that what we were dealing with was a rather heavy set of fence posts lashed together to make a raft, covered with orange mesh. This and other pieces of wood had got wedged in the river, trapping the usual assortment of beer cans and fizzy drinks bottles. Once out of the river this material had to then be carted up to Thames Road for collection by the Council. The fence posts were cut free and used to augment constructed Lizard basking sites on the wetland.
A wetland walk-around then ensued in order to plan for next week’s working visit by sixth-formers from a nearby school. Michael pointed out a blindingly obvious Marsh Sow-thistle growing by one of the inlet sluices, which I had somehow missed despite beating a path through surrounding vegetation on a number of recent occasions. The significance of the plant is that it is the first self-sown specimen of this nationally scarce plant to have got to any substantial size.
I stayed on to do some site management work, with the rain finally petering out mid afternoon. Despite the weakness of the ensuing sun and cool air temperatures, 3 baby Lizards came out to bask on tyres, and a Small Copper butterfly was disturbed from some long grass. Shed skin from 2 different Grass Snakes that had been noticed earlier was collected to send off to a project looking at snake genetics.
A mobile Cetti’s Warbler vocalised quite often from various parts of the site, and may have been the same or a different individual to one calling from the opposite bank of the nearby Cray. Two Water Rails were heard making their pig squeal sound from within the reedswamp. Between 18.41 and 19.17 some 86 Carrion Crows flew south/south-west over the wetland.