Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tuesday 21st April

Another cracking day - warm sunshine and Swallows on the wing (2x Kiln Barn Farm). A low mist hung over at the foot of the downs as I cycled into work by Gallagher's Gallop/Kiln Barn Farm, and apart from the Swallows the only other highlight were 4x Bullfinches.
Blossom is dropping everywhere on the East Malling Research Station site at the moment (there's an open day at Hatton Gardens, Bradbourne House this Sunday if anyone wants to check it out). The cherries are the real showstoppers, all blousy, Barbara Cartland, candyfloss-like creations. Which leads nicely on to Ross - we met over Ditton Quarry at lunchtime and both hoped to get some snaps of the the underside of a female Orange-tip butterfly...don't ask why, it just gets competitive like that! Lots of butterflies on the wing, but being so warm little was settling down, so we both failed in our mission. I did manage the underside of a Speckled Wood though!
Species seen were: 2x Peacock, 2x Speckled Wood, 6+ Orange-tip, 2x Comma. The liquidy, free-flowing song of Blackcaps flowed from the trees in the SW corner, intermingled with the scratchy warble from the Whitethroats in the brambles. Ross had 2x House Martin overhead. A single Willow Warbler sang from the willows (strangely enough!) near the grassed, dip area.
A colony of solitary bees (Red Mason Bees I've been informed) were busy at their colony at the ragstone rock-face. The colony resembles a minitaure Sand Martin colony.
A single Bee-fly prospected around the entrance holes no doubt intend on laying it's eggs that would eventually develop in to the larvae that will parasitise the bees...poor sods.

No sign of the Whooper Swan today.

At home I've noticed a busy Blackbird perching on my fence post with a bill full of worms. I followed him and he led me to a nest tucked away in some ivy right next to the house - with 3 well-developed fledglings, a quick pic and then left them in peace.

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