Saturday, 2 July 2011

Hemsted Forest

I was initially attracted to drive out to Hemsted Forest by a bird list which I had seen on KOS that had a number of species on it which I had not seen yet this year, secondly I had never been there before and it reached out to my exploring nature, so off I went arriving about .  Hemsted Forest is situated in West Kent, not too far from Sissinghurst, the Public car Park of which is at the South end of the Forest near Benenden. The facilities are limited to a smallish car park, probably take about 30 cars maximum and that’s about it, though the main paths are well marked being about 10 feet wide and made of packed earth and rock. From the car park I made my way along the main route and in a short space of time came across some Comma’s who were, despite the coolish weather, reluctant to settle.

Comma - Polygonia c-album - Canon 400D +100-400mm

After a while I turned right down a side track to take me deeper into the forest which is where I came across some what I believe to be Meadow Browns and a Ringlet, the former refusing to stop still with wings open and the second refusing to stop with its wings closed! They were more active than the Comma’s!
(I believe a) Meadow Brown - Maniola jurtina - Canon 400D +100-400mm

(I believe a) Ringlet - Aphantopus hyperantus - Canon 400D +100-400mm

Another couple of left turns brought me out onto a slightly wider path where I found some White Admirals, a butterfly I had never seen before.

White Admiral - Limenitis Camilla - Canon 400D +100-400mm
Well what about the birds? Amazingly I only saw a Robin, a couple of Carrion Crows and a Wren. There was some Tits calling from the upper canopy deep in the woods that I never saw, and occasionally the odd call from the depths of the Forest, but nothing near me and nothing that I recognised (must practice more with bird calls). Perhaps it was the time of day, perhaps the time of year, or perhaps the gallon of insect repellent I had sprayed myself with. There was more to see though. It was after I realised that I was lost that I came across this chap, a Common Toad I believe.

A Common Toad - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

I decided to expand my new interest in Flora, first there was a small group of Foxgloves near where the Toad was seen, then a little further on this white flower stood out from all the surrounding greenery. I have identified it as a White Musk Mallow, please correct me (as with all my identifications) if I am wrong.

A White Musk Mallow - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

A White Musk Mallow - Olympus SP590UZ

Thankfully I came across someone walking their dog who pointed me in the right direction which took me past a glade where two Southern Hawkers were, however they were constantly on the move and I was unable to get a picture. Despite my bird count of 3 (how embarrassing is that?) I enjoyed the walk and intend to return for an evening stroll soon and perhaps catch a bit more bird activity.

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