Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Monday 4th August
All fairly quiet on the East Malling Research Station in terms of birds at the moment - apart from the occasional honks of the resident flock of Greylags and the distant whisps of Skylark and Yellowhammer song. I decided to check the Buddleia plot on site again in the hope of turning up some butterflies. Apart from a crisp, but flighty, Red Admiral there was nothing out of the ordinary in terms of butterflies. However I was buzzed a couple of times by this hornet-sized hoverfly. It eventually landed to feed on some elderflower. Volucella zonaria? Is that familiar Ross or Greenie? A bloody big hoverfly of some sort!
The wind dropped later in the afternoon and as soon as I got home from work I grabbed my camera and bins (once bitten and all that!) and headed of to the orchard off South Street, Barming to see if I couldn't relocate the Spotted Flycatcher that had delighted me with it's twisting sallies on Sunday. No luck! Feeling the need to photograph something I made my way upriver, and slightly off patch, to Teston/West Farleigh. On Saturday I'd managed to confirm the Barn Owls in this area had young, and tonight I managed to see the whole family goup sitting out on a branch in front of the nest box - 2 adults and 3 young. Used to homing in on the smallest of rodents in the dark, my fumbling 6ft bulk presented no challenge, so as I desperately fumbled for my camera they rapidly took flight into the surronding oaks. One of the adults was decent enough to return briefly for this rather shaky shot in the dying light.
So no flycather, but a decent view of 5x Barn Owls, and all topped off with another fantastic 'Teston Sunset'.