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.
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Sunday 1st August 2010
Tempted off patch again today by the repeated reports of Southern Emerald Damselflies at Cliffe. Now I don't normally twitch insects, but I've never seen an Emerald Damselfly let alone it's rarer cousins, Scarce and Southern....and it's only 25mis away ;-) So there I found myself, crack of dawn, in the drizzle, not another soul around, staring into ditches. What sort of hobby is this?! All the Cliffe regulars put in appearances; car tyre, beer bottle, couple of kids on a scrambler. As the sun broke through, the reeds started to give up their gifts - Scarce Emeralds - masses of them.
For some reason I thought they'd be dainty things, but not these, dwarfing the Blue-tailed Damselflies that joined them in the air....and occasionally ended up as their prey!
Two hours scoring the ditches failed to turn up the elusive Southern Emerald, but plenty of Common Darters, a couple of Emerald Damselflies and a red-form of the Blue-tailed Damselfly.
Plenty of other Odonatologists started to appear but as far as I'm aware they were equally unlucky (Barry was that you proding the reeds with your long lens?). Managed to get a crap record shot of this dragonfly - Black-tailed Skimmer - presumably?:
Back on the track it was good to catch up with a couple of Wall Browns, a elusive species it seems in Kent. Three Red Admirals were blown past and good numbers of Gatekeeper and Small Heath flitted around.
Reptiles were represented by a couple of Grass Snakes; one swimming in a ditch aqnd the other crossing the track by the Black (or now Grey) Barn. A quick scan from the first mound gave me heat haze views of a Ruff, 4x Greenshank, 6x Avocet, 8x Dunlin.