A report of wildlife sightings from the western edge of Maidstone, Kent. I note anything of interest in the vicinity of my home in Barming and from walks into work at the East Malling Research Station along the edge of Barming Woods and down to Ditton. Occasionally, when time allows, I get out to Ditton Quarry, a rich habitat hemmed in by residential and industrial developments on one side, but with open countryside on the other.
Friday, 19 February 2010
Friday 19th February
All the usual species on the walk into work, accompanied by drizzle for most of the way, except
when I passed through Oaken Wood and it magically turned to snow. Winter hasn't loosened it's grip just yet.
I headed back down to Bradbourne at lunchtime and got another site tick for the year in the form of Mike Easterbrook. With his beloved butterflies all tucked up for the winter it was a good time to get some birding in. As is always the case when Mike accompanies me, the target bird (Green Sandpiper) was not to be found.
However, scanning the lake we picked out the drake Shoveler, hiding in the shadow of an overhanging willow. I was determined to get some pics of this East Malling scarcity - but flighty wasn't the word for it, I only had to blink and it was off and down to the opposite end of the lake. I walked the length of the lake at least eight times to try and get a picture of it, but in the end resorted to trying to get some pictures of it in flight - and the ones above were the best of the lot - appalling I know! I've got so many pics of bits of the bird I would have been better off compiling a photofit! You wouldn't think Shovelers were difficult to photograph - just look at Steve Ashton's pic (http://www.eastkentwildlifepics.co.uk/photo_5528450.html)