Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Wednesday 16th May

An overcast morning, but no rain at least. Nothing new on the walk in - 10 Linnets at the back of Kiln Barn Farm on the race-course were the highlight...and 3 Swallows over the pasture at the corner of Kiln Barn Lane.

'Lord Nelson' (if only I get used to the time delay on digital cameras!)

The sun finally emerged as I went for a lunchtime walk round Ditton Quarry. A far off whistle from the railway alerted me to a steam engine on it's way - a Southern steam loco 'Lord Nelson' sped past towards Maidstone pulling green liveried coaches, an added bonus to the day. The number of ladybird larvae on on the stinging nettles on Kiln Barn Lane seemed to have increased two-fold since last week and closer inspection revealed, unfortunately, that some were Harlequin larvae. A further scout around the nettles in the quarry also turned up a number of Harlequin ladybird adults.

Harlequin Ladybirds

A record 8 Common Lizards were seen today, including a pregnant female. 2x Common Blue and 1x Red Admiral were the only butterflies. A number of Azure Damselflies were floating around in tandem near the pool at the east end of the quarry.

Pregnant Common Lizard

An offer of a lift to Dungeness for the Audouin's Gull at 17:15 was unexpected - but we got there 25 minutes too late. A juvenile Little Gull on the patch and dark-phase Artic Skua flying east, close into the shore didn't make up for the disappointment. With heavy hearts, and heads filled with the image of the thousands of gulls we had scanned at Dungeness, Scotney GPs, Jury's Gap and Camber Sands , we made our way back home. On the way back we stopped to watch a Barn Owl quartering precauriously close to the Rye-Lydd road. See what tomorrow brings!

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