Thursday, 5 May 2016


The other day in the company of others I went to Elmley Nature Reserve bird watching. It was a nice sunny day with a light breeze that was warm when the sun was out of the clouds but with a distinctive chill otherwise, fortunately it was mainly warm.

I had not been for over a year and there had been some improvements, there was a larger car park containing an honesty box, a screen hide overlooking the estuary on the walk to the first hide and one of the friends of Elmley informed us that there were new scrapes. The other change I noticed was a reduction in the reeds leading to the first hide and I missed the usual serenade of Sedge and Reed Warblers though this could be a seasonal matter, proper management of the reed beds or a fault in my memory.

For the day we had 42 confirmed sightings of different bird species (the two bracketed were not seen by all of us), namely:-
Avocet, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Coot, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Tufted Duck, Dunlin, Little Egret, Gadwall, Black Tailed Godwit, Goldfinch, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Dabchick,
Black Headed Gull, Marsh Harrier, Heron, Kestrel, Lapwing, Sky Lark, (Linnet), Mallard, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Wood Pigeon, Pochard, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Shelduck, Shoveler, House Sparrow, Starling, Swallow, Mute Swan, Common Tern, Pied Wagtail, (Yellow Wagtail), Sedge Warbler, Wheatear, and Buzzard.

There was 1 species we saw that I had a horrible time identifying and is not in the list above and that is Curlew several of which we saw at a distance which could easily have been Whimbrel the distinguishing features changing on any one bird with the light and angle, sadly no vocalisation from any of them to help.
We heard but did not see a Robin and a Green Woodpecker, and I am sure one of the warblers was a Reed Warbler (very plain looking) but it was so quick I am only about 75% certain on identification, also not listed is a White Dove seen flying about.

Of other wildlife we were fortunate enough to see a Hare and although it was sunny only Peacock and Small White butterflies, the Marsh frogs were nowhere near as vocal as in the past with one short outburst from them, the warmer weather which is on its way may change that.

Pictures are :-
Common Tern, Common Tern
Lapwing, Lapwing Chick
Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler
Little Egret, Little Egret, Redshank, Avocet
Linnet, Sedge Warbler
Redshank, Hare

Monday, 1 June 2015

Faversham Creek

Back for a bit. Last year was a bad year for me. I did a fair few walks but pictures were few. Hopefully a new lease of life for this year.
On 22nd May I did a walk at Faversham Creek with Stephen. I had a terrible time with camera settings so much so that most shots were consigned to the bin. Here are a few of the survivors. The day list is after the photos.

Heron (from quite a distance)


Tufted Duck

Little Egret

Reed Bunting

Yellow Wagtail
Seen were Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Coot, Carrion Crow, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Dunnock, Little Egret, Gadwall, Greylag Goose, Dabchick, Greenfinch, Black headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Marsh Harrier, Heron, Jckdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Sky Lark, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Mallard, House Martin, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Wood Pigeon, Pochard, Redshank, Bearded Reedling, Robin, Shelduck, House Sparrow, Starling, Swallow, Mute Swan, Swift, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Yellow Wagtail, Common Buzzard, Tufted Duck and Rook. We also heard a Song Thrush and several Sedge and/or Reed Warblers.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

North Downs Way - 10-8-2013

Small White

We went for a long walk along the North Downs Way yesterday and as expected for the time of year bird life was very limited and in addition that which was about was more vocal than visual. As this was to be a bit of a trek I only took a pocket Lumix (Panasonic DMC-FS10) which was sufficient for the insect life that would be patient enough to sit still, however please be aware that the quality of most shots were impaired due to having to lean over bushes, shrubs, Thistles and Nettles more often than not whilst balancing on one leg in order to get close enough to take the shot.
Green Veined White (I believe)
Whites were everywhere as usual with Large, Small and Green Veined seen in almost all fields that we passed (see above), in addition Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Speckled Woods were found alongside most pathways.
Common Blue (m)
Common Blue (f)
Common Blue (f)
It was at a crossroads that we came across the only blues of the day, several Common Blues (above) and my first ever Brown Argus (below)
Brown Argus
Whilst trying to get some photos of these I found a Brimstone, this was an excellent find as although they are supposed to be quite common I had never seen one before (lifetime spot no.2)
Brimstone (f)
I reluctantly moved on – Butterflies were not the only insects to be found on the walk, Soldier Beetles were to be found on the majority of the Cow Parsley we passed and day moths were quite abundant including many Silver Y’s.
Silver Y Moth
We also found more Ladybirds on the walk than I had seen previously all this year, on just one plant we found this little lot.

7 Spot Ladybird

Fourteen Spot Ladybird
Fourteen Spot Ladybird (I believe)
The strangest (for me) find yesterday was this Scorpion Fly

Scorpion Fly
Walking alongside a field which had been edged with wild flowers I was lucky enough to find a third lifetime butterfly spot – a Painted lady.
Painted Lady

 The last spot of the day was a Small Tortoiseshell (female), sadly too far away for a photograph. Birds noted were Wren, Jackdaw, Magpie, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Herring Gull, Green Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, Black Headed Gull and Jay. The last photo of this batch is of a Comma Butterfly, superb camouflage but the white legs give away its position.
Comma Butterfly
As always - please correct me where I have made a mistake - I am no expert and although I do my best my educated guesses are sometimes just that.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

New Hythe Lakes - 24th July 2013

Greylag Goose - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Today I managed to get up to Leybourne Lakes for an hour and have a wander around mainly in search of Odonata and I was not disappointed; birds as expected were quiet and remained hidden most of the time. However we did see a Chiffchaff and a young Robin near the entrance, plenty of Canada and Greylag Geese on Ocean Lake together with a few Mute Swans, all had almost mature young in tow, in addition a couple of Cormorants were on a nearby boat. Seen in the bushes alongside the stream by Ocean Lake were some young Blue Tits and a female Black Cap whilst in the stream some Mallards.

Mallard  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
In the Conservation Lake were a Heron, some Coots and a couple of Dabchicks, also seen at various points were some Magpies, Wood Pigeons, a Green Woodpecker, Great Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Tufted Ducks and some Moorhens.
Tufted Duck  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Not a lot I know but my concentration was equally divided between Birds, Butterflies and Odonata so on to the other categories, at the first bridge by Ocean lake were some Comma butterflies whilst among the many Common Blue Damselflies (including three or four ‘homochrome’ forms)were a fair few Banded Demoiselles.
Banded Demoiselle  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Common Blue Damselfly  - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Common Blue (homochrome) Damselfly - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Alongside The Ocean Lake were Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, Small Skippers and some Six Spot Burnet Moths whilst at the fork for the Dipping Pond were a couple of Black Tailed Skimmers.
Small Skipper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens

Small Skipper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens

Gatekeeper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Six Spot Burnet Moth - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Black Tailed Skimmer - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
At the Dipping Pool a Migrant Hawker patrolled unceasingly whilst a few Emerald Damselflies flitted among the reeds, another Migrant Hawker was egg laying.
Emerald Damselfly - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
Migrant Hawker Egg Laying - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
On the return route alongside the wood by the Reed Pond a pair of large brown dragonflies were hunting as they were not competing they may have been a pair of Brown Hawkers, but I am not good enough at identification to confirm this, also on this stretch was a Peacock Butterfly.
Peacock Butterfly - Canon 400D + 100-400mm Lens
As always I am happy to learn from my mistakes so please let me know if I have made any identification.
A Baby Coot - not quite the fluffy duckling that Mallards and Tufteds have.