Friday, 29 August 2014

Kingsborough Manor Community Woodland

This is a wonderful place I've just discovered. It constantly surprises me how many places there are to enjoy walking and discovering new natural wonders. At the moment it was a little quiet on the bird front, though there were House Martins skittering around and above the treetops, a Green Woodpecker's distinctive call from the woods or beyond, and other secretive small birds occasionally heard but not seen in the deep foliage.

But there were butterflies and dragonflies galore! And a blanket of berry-laden bushes and trees for them to flutter and dart around and settle on so I could take their photos. Here are just a few of those I saw, including (I think) Migrant Hawkers, Speckled Woods, Red Admirals and Commas :

With the vast number of berry bushes there are bound to be more birds here soon - and I will be back to watch them.

Friday, 22 August 2014


A cloudy morning by the beach, the tide well in, gave me a chance to observe one of my favourite birds - the Turnstone. This is just a short photographic record of them.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A little of everything at Elmley

Another glorious morning - which may be the last for a while according to the forecasts - so I headed over to Elmley NNR.

It was quiet along the track up to the barn, but there was a Kestrel hovering. It seemed to have a jess - or maybe just some vegetation caught on its leg?

I also saw three Little Grebes (one on its own near the track and two together up nearer the hides), but they were doing their usual trick of diving and vanishing, so I only got a quick snap of one, festooned with pond weed :

There was much activity up at the yard, with adult and juvenile Swallows on the buildings, wires, and swooping around.

Shortly after the gate a Stoat rushed across the track, gone in a flash. Approaching the first hides, a small flock of Lapwings came into view - but they did not settle at the scrapes - just carried on into the distance. By no means the numbers seen earlier in the year (and difficult to capture in a pic), but still great to see.

The scrapes were quite quiet, but there were a few dragonflies and butterflies around the hides, and close to the reeds, a young Avocet feeding.

On the way back some Coot chicks emerged from the reeds alongside the track.

Throughout the morning there had been raptors visible in the distance, but on the track back to the entrance two Marsh Harriers suddenly appeared and circled for a minute or two above the car :

It was a 'typical' morning at Elmley - wonderful as ever.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

250 metres to the sea

I'm very lucky to live close to the sea, with fields and open spaces all the way along the front. 

It was another glorious morning today, so I took a walk down to the sea. The busy summer season is now upon us so the beaches are packed with people - but not here :

The tide was a way out, and there were numerous gulls along the waterline and Oystercatchers calling noisily as they patrolled the sand :

Closer in, Turnstones were resting or feeding :

It was wonderful to sit on the sea wall and just watch and listen - the only sounds being the birds calling. 

I took the track back along the fields. Lots of butterflies - mainly Small White and Gatekeepers - were enjoying the sun amongst the brambles and wildflowers along the field edges :

The thistles looked fluffy and glorious :


And as a real bonus, on one of the weirdly windswept trees on the open field, a Green Woodpecker :

A wonderful end to a walk, and all on my doorstep.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Lake walk at Sissinghurst

Sissinghurst has beautiful gardens, but just outside there is a Lake Walk which is quieter and brings unexpected joys. You walk along the outer edges of the gardens and can see the open fields beyond. There is a lightly wooded area with streams almost hiding between the trees and larger areas of water sometimes fully in view, sometimes only glimpsed.

When I visited yesterday, there were few birds to hear or see, but there were butterflies and dragonflies all around - elusive, darting, skimming the water and plants, settling occasionally, then off again dancing in the sunlight.

I saw Large Whites, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeepers, Skippers and my first Speckled Wood.

These Demoiselles shimmered up and down a stream bed.

This damselfly (?Common Blue) preferred the dusty path.

I noticed the one below when trying to focus on one of the bright demoiselles. Despite having just bought a guide to dragonflies and damselflies I still don't know what it is (and I'm not certain about the others either (no response on iSpot yet)). In fact the book, like guides to so many different creatures in the natural world, just demonstrates how hard ID can be when there are so many variants.

Some things are easier, and though very familiar, still great to see.

And some pictures taken accidentally can also reveal something of interest.

Sissinghurst is a wonderful place to visit, but while the gardens are packed with people, the lake walk can be more peaceful and with just as many beautiful things to see.