Friday, 29 June 2007

Friday 29th June

Heavy showers interspersed by sunny spells caused me to take shelter under one of the polytunnels in the strawberry fields. I discovered a Meadow Brown and Black-tailed Skimmer as unlikely partners, the butterfly found it's own way of the nets but the dragonfly needed some help!
A walk out along the River Medway between Barming Bridge and Teston Bridge turned up lost of Goldfinches, Whitethroats, Yellowhammers, a Turtle Dove on the electricity lines by St Margaret's Church, a Common Tern, Kingfisher and Little Owl and Barn Owl by Teston Bridge. But no Spotted Flycatchers. Meadow Brown, Comma and Red Admiral were also seen.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Thursday 28th June

A quick sortie over to Ditton Quarry was disappointing - too cloudy and windy. A small skipper species was blown across our path on the wasteground area, too fast to identify. A Small Heath posed briefly as we left the quarry, just long enough for Dan to get the photo above.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Wednesday 27th June

Haymaking before the rain

The strawberry season has just peaked so marginally more time to get back to my blog! A number of things of note of the last 2 weeks - most notably a Nightjar heard calling (in response to a CD) in a large felled area in Oaken Woods, Barming on Friday 15th June. However it was not heard to churr or seen, and hasn't been relocated on 2 subsequent visits. Painted Lady, Large Skipper and Meadow Brown have all been seen over Ditton Quarry in the last 10 days, along with my first Emperor Dragonfly of the season. One east facing bank of the quarry is full of Pyramidal Orchids.
A large number of Yellowhammers are calling on the East Malling Research site and are often seen perched high on top of the Alder windbreaks. A Kestrel has also been more evident of late.

In Barming I was suprised to find a Blue-tailed Damselfly sitting on the concrete post in my front garden last week, something I usually have to go down to the river to see. A quick visit to Barming Bridge last night resulted in a pair of Bullfinches which posed very well in the evening sun - quite uncharacteristic for this species. A good number of Whitethroats and single Blackcap, but no sign of any Spotted Flycatchers in the territory held by one for the last 2 years.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Wednesday 6th June

A quick post as work is getting the better of me - the strawberry season is in full swing! A very worn Painted Lady was seen on site today as I walked to the strawberry fields this afternoon, possibly the same one I saw yesterday. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera, so you'll have to make do with a picture of strawberries!

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Sunday 3rd June

I managed to find my land legs again. A short visit to Apedale Country Park, Staffordshire at the back of Liz's mom and dad's place saw my first Large Skipper of the year. Numerous Damselflies and Dragonflies were buzzing around including some fine Broad-bodied Chasers. A pool held a clony of Newts - possibly Smooth Newts although a couple were had crested backs but didn't seem large enough to be Great-crested Newts.

Saturday 2nd June

My father-in-law drove me up to Pwllheli, North Wales last night and we bunked down on his yacht in the marina overnight. A 06:00 start saw us motoring out of the harbour under threatening skies, Oystercatchers and Grey Herons were abundant and 4x Dunlin were seen running across the mud near the harbour mouth. As we set sail we were quickly rewarded by the appearance of a pod of Bottle-nose Dolphins swimming alongside the boat. Guillemots sporadically flew in front of the boat ansd a number were seen floating on the swell. A single Razorbill made a brief appearance, as did a Fulmar. As we approached Bardsey Island small flocks of Gannets powered past, followed by 30+ Manx Shearwaters, again in small flocks, reasonably close in. All in all a very interesting 8 hours at sea...I even managed not to be sick! A walk round the beach/harbour area resulted in 8x Curlews, 4x Shelducks and lots of interesting shells and pebbles!

Friday 1st June

A fantastically warm day in Warwickshire visiting my mom and dad. A visit to Packwood House was rewarded by 2 Ravens (heard and later confirmed by a third-party), Common Buzzard, Nuthatch and my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year.

Thursday 31st May

A trip up to Staffordshire today to see a strawberry trial took longer than expected as the M40 was closed off in both directions. However 25 Red Kite and 2 Common Buzzard were seen, mostly from the stationary car on the M40! 1 of the Red Kites was seen between junctions 9 & 10 of the M25 near Wisley, a first off the M25 for me.