After the thunderstorms kept me awake through the night, bu 4am today I had had enough. I packed a camera, binoculars, some cash (in case) and drove along the foreshore of the Medway and the Swale before the sun could force its way through the gloom.
These days it is off the beaten track: The Bridge (that is its official title for the oversized spanning of the Swale) takes you past the access track, and also the local train halt.
The sky was leaden, the sun super-red, but cold, and the rain clouds were threatening.
So - what did I get for my money?
Well, you will be unlucky to be asked to pay (and if you are an RSPB member you can enter for free anyway), it teams with marsh habitats, wildlife, and thousands of birds scattered across six miles of the Swale foreshore.
At 4.30am I had seen the sub.Sixty minutes later I had seen two hares, three foxes, lapwings, cattle, the most enormous bull, dozens of little egrets,
a black pheasant, heard various frogs and toads calling, watched two marsh harriers and so.
There were several little egrets from their roost 12 miles away on the Isle of Grain. This is the place where the Mayor of London considers it is more appropriate for London's Heathrow replacement to be built and to hell with the "trivial" objectors in north Kent - including 32,000 people who would also be displaced by his runways, and jet aircraft,m trains and motorway access.
This is a place that should never be despoiled. It is not trivial to wish to protect the environment for birds, yourself and to improve things for future generations.
People (like me) moved here for work, the peace, wildlife, and some of the finest seascapes anywhere. We did not chose to live next to an airport. While I sympathise with those who did, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead and Luton (like Birmingham) have been there for many years. Grain's airport (the first for seaplanes) and Sheppey's airport have been gone at least 80 years.
Visitors and residents need places like Elmley Marshes, now anbd for all time.
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