Thursday, 31 July 2008
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Monday, 28 July 2008
A fantastically warm day again, even tempting a Common Lizard into one of the strawberry punnet trays at work. We've had also sorts of damage to strawberry fruit in the past including from Linnets and Badgers, but Lizards...! However the best sighting of the day was a Silver-washed Fritillary in Oaken Wood, Barming. I'd been hoping to see one, and sure enough on a lunchtime ride looking for White Admirals, I noticed what looked like a large Comma on a buddleia. It fed for short periods before gliding around the clearing and occasionally chasing a Brown Hawker. Unfortunately it favored the highest, most obscure racemes so didn't pose particularly well for any photos (but notice the underside of a Comma alongside on the left , didn't notice it until looked at the pics on the PC!). Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.
Friday, 25 July 2008
I stopped off to check at the nest near Palmer's Rough to see if I couldn't spot a parent going into feed the chicks - no cativity after 10 minutes so I checked the nest. Empty! All the chicks had gone, obviously too early to fledge but most probably predated. Guess I'll never know what they were.
Later Adrian described a Little Grebe chick he'd found bedraggled on the stream near Bradbourne House, East Malling. Eventually he decided to move it back up to the main lake as it was a good distance, and waterfall, away from there. Hopefully it'll fair better than the nestlings.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
Monday, 21 July 2008
The afternoon brightened up wonderfully and we spent the afternoon enjoying the village fete held in the Parish Fields, Church Lane, Barming - I was intrigued by the 'Human Fruit machine' (photos to follow!), but impressed to see an adult Med Gull float over towards West Farleigh. Later a small flock of gulls was seen on the bank of the River Medway below West Farleigh church following a tractor that was hay-making - too far to see if the Med was amongst them.
Friday, 18 July 2008
After the early evening rain I was still itching to get out, and taking a major detour on my way to East Malling for a party, I found myself walking along the River Medway east from Tonbridge. I'd be prompted by Carol Goulden's report of a Grasshopper Warbler near a lock east of the town. I arrived late, 20:30 to be precise, and having ticked off a Kingfisher I loitered, listening for the distinctive reeling that would give my quarry away. Nothing. I noticed a Barn Owl box acros the river, and as the light died hoped to get a glimpse of a quartering owl. Nothing. About to give up, I suddenly heard a light, faint reel. Moving across the lock, it intensified and very soon I'd located it's position. There it was, a Grasshopper Warbler, gap wide open reeling away - I though they were a hard species to spot! It took flight after a minute or so and perched across the stem of a Hogweed, pausing momentarily before go full blast again. Too dark for photos, but an excuse to appreciate this fantastic little bird.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Later, after work I visted West Farleigh and got a few glimpses of one of the Barn Owls in flight across the meadows by the church at around 21:00. A couple of Little Owls also flitted around. Three Glow-worms were seen in Oaken Wood as the sun finally died.
The kids were pretty bored later in the afternoon, as Sunday afternoons can tend to be a 4 and 18-month old, so I decided to play 'turn-over everything in the garden to see what lies beneath'. To my suprise we found a newt and Slow Worm (my first for the garden). I think we'll be playing this game again!
Monday, 14 July 2008
I managed an evening stroll out with my two lads through the orchards by South Street, Barming this evening. The sky was tiered with hirundines; Swifts high overhead, Swallows sweeping around the apple trees and House Martins skimming along the River Medway below us. East Farleigh looked so picturesque nestled in the valley.
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Late news from Friday: No sign or sound of Nightjars in either Oaken Wood or deserted Orchard south of Cottenham Close, East Malling.
Friday, 4 July 2008
A couple of Bullfinches flew across our path and Chiffchaffs called from the coppiced plantations.
Yellowhammers seem to be out in force at the moment. A walk from East Malling church, across the research centre land by the public footpath to Kiln Barn Road or Hermitage Lane is guaranteed to throw up at least a couple of males singing from the top of the Italian Alder windbreaks. Pairs of Linnets and Goldfinches also occupy these windbreaks and can often be seen perched on the wire fence at the base of the trees. Skylarks are also in full voice, with the set aside areas near the cereal and linseed plots between Kiln Barn Lane and Hermitage Lane (also viewable from the public footpaths) being particulary reliable.
Sparrowhawks are also daily sightings, the one on East Malling Research site seems to favour the area just east of the main buidings often flying down from one of the windbreaks, low across the turfed area trying to pick of unsuspecting finches and sparrows that feed by the buildings. In Barming one is often seen flapping and gliding at the top of Gallagher's Gallop, near the eastern edge of Oaken Wood. Along with the Kestrels, occasional Hobby, Little and Barn Owls, and odd sighting of Buzzard or Red Kite the area is becoming raptor rich!