Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Denge Wood

The walk into Denge was very pleasant with sunshine making the greens sparkle. There were a number of Common Spotted orchids along the track and once inside the reserve they were everywhere. The Lady orchids were mostly in their prime but numbers of these seemed down. Being a bit later than usual the Greater Butterflies were perfect and there did seem to be more this year.
At the end of the reserve a search of the primroses found one Duke of Burgundy looking quite fresh.
A took a slight diversion on the way home where we found 2 Man orchids but little else.
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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Dungeness Point

A short walk out to the edge of the trapping area to do some botnising. On the way we found a fresh Brown Argus as well as some Common Blues.
We were looking for Broomrapes and found several Common Broorapes, some just coming up and some well up. As we walked we were kicking up xylostellas with nearly every step, especially through the grassy and brambly areas. As well as Gorse Shieldbug clambouring through a grasshead.
The bean plant is growing well within it's bramble shelter. It should produce a few beans.

The main purpose was to see this broorape, which, despite it's size and colour, is probably just a common one.
One of the thigs about Dungeness is the variety of species that can be found. One family that seems to thrive is the vetches, a couple of are pictures below.

The willow bushes of the trapping area are absolutely dripping with cuckoo spit. Standing inside a bush is a recipe for getting wet, with the sound of drips falling on the bramble leavews echoing round the area.

Some of the plants are so small that you have to get down on your knees to really appreciate their beauty.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016


I am not a diary keeper but having looked back I thought I might try again as it is nice to keep track of what I do and see.
Walking round Park Wood  has been a real pleasure the last two weeks. The sun was shining and birds were singing albeit common woodland species, it was still a spirit lifter to here the tits and wrens belting it out. This week we heard Chiffchaffs singing for the first time, there were at least 5 proclaiming their presence, a real affirmation of the arrival of spring. It is often the car park area that has the most activiity and it is quiet in many parts of the wood but this morning Nuthatches, Wrens, and Blue and Great tits were evident in all parts the wood and there were even 3 Coal Tits feeding in the slowly bursting buds.
Taking part in a small project looking at the phenology of woodland trees and plants makes me look around me in a slightly different way and it is interesting how trees of the same type break into leaf earlier than others. Quite a few of the oaks have green leaves showing but my oak is still bud bound although they are swelling and the Silver Birch is just showing a hint of green wheras many of the other birches are a greeny haze.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Betwixt and between

The drive across the marsh today really illustrated how betwixt the seasons we are just now. The Bewick's Swans have gone and there were far fewer Blackbirds flitting along the hedgerows but a few Song Thrushes. I found no Fieldfares but there was still a sizeable flock of House and Tree Sparrows on the feeders at Baynham Farm along with Greenfinch, Chaffinch and a few tits. On the shingle between the road and the sea there was at least one Wheatear and a Black Redstart and the Scaup remained on Scotney pit. From the Dengemarsh road there were 2 or 3 Marsh Harriers hunting in the reeds, a pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying and a Great White Egret was stalking fish along the margins.
We returned along the front a spent a bit of time watching the rubicola Stonechat before checking out the gull roost where the interesting bird was a Yellow-legged gull before returning to the Obs for a welcome cup of tea. On the drive back I was pleased to see a Barn Owl near Chapel Bank.

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Friday, 13 March 2015

Spring is here

Returning from a 5 day trip to Iceland where it was very snowy and still in the grip of winter, it was interesting to see how quickly things change once the temperature rises. Along the roads were frothy Blackthorn bushes, in the garden there were clumps of daffs and crocuses, the Camellia is smothered in red flowers, the Hellebore bed is full of nodding heads and the first Fritillaries were showing their droopy heads.

Across the marsh the Bewick's had gone and the first Wheatears had arrived on the point.
The heather bushes in the front are covered in bees and at least 2 Small Tortoiseshells have been feeding on the flowers.

Unfortunately we seem to have lost our frogs over the last few years and there's no sign of frogspawn.

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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Different times

Having returned from an interesting 2 weeks in Sri Lanka, a wander round my garden got me thinking about how the times are changing. We've had primroses out since before Christmas, snowdrops in bloom by January 1st and the Camellia has decided to burst into blossom at least 3 months early. Around the lanes the Winter Heliotrope, usually to be looked for in January, had flowers from early December and there are crocuses on the verges. Phenology studies show that migrants are appearing earlier every year, so, presumably, their food supplies are also appearing earlier and many are now not bothering to migrate as far or at all. Just wonder how it will all develop.
In my garden we now have Collar Dove and Wood Pigeons breeding in the evergreens, a pair of Robins cautiously exploring a relationship, Bluetits checking out the nest boxes and several Blackbirds chasing each other round. The House Sparrows are still a noisy, boisterous group on the feeders and we have just attracted a female Blackcap to the fat balls so not everything is ahead of schedule.

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014


I tried an earlier start to my Saturday but there was very little to see. A walk along the front of the power station was brightened by at least 7 Clouded Yellow butterflies and several plants before the threatening clouds suggested retreat.

We spent some time at the boats, during which time it poured down, stopped at the south end of ARC where there were a few Ruff among the Lapwings and then drove round to the reserve, where the water levels are dropping to give some nice looking islands and shallow edges.
We drove up to Scotney but there wasn't much around so, as the ranges were open for the weekend we drove down to the end. There were at least 3 Whinchats and a couple of Stonechats plus a few Curlew dotted about.

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