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.
Busy at home and work hence lack of posts of late. I snatched 30 minutes at lunchtime to watch the House Martins that seem to be swarming around the East Malling Research site and discovered upto 16 birds collecting mud in the main car park. Most of the derelict nests have been renovated with up to 20 birds skimming through the skies I think we're in for a bumper crop this year!
Further on a Pied Wagtail was defending territory on one of the cold stores, I hear his calls most mornings when I arrive at work. With Skylark, Linnet and Blackcap all heard and seen as I headed back to my office, and a clump of Bee Orchids lost amongst the high grasses .
Opening the window I noticed a small mammal scurry across the path that leads between the Conference Centre and the main lab building - I managed a quick snap and put it down to a rat - then I saw it again, a Weasel! I've done well with this species on site in recent years, not suprising with the amount of rabbits and voles that live on site. I went back out and with the aid of a piece of raw bacon (don't ask!) I managed to tempt him briefly back out for a record shot!
Other notable sightings over the last few days were 10+ Sand Martins on Monday just E of Gallagher's Gallop - nesting in the Quarry? Nightjar in Barming Woods on Friday/Saturday night.