Wednesday, 29 June 2016

So much to catch up on

It's been a while but so much has happened since then. Brexit has happened, thankfully I am not writing about politics whatever my opinion. Although what would happen to the British list if Scotland became independent and Ireland unified? We also exited the Euros in football, again not writing about that either. The weather though has not been on my side, every time I seem to have time available the weather turns. Today I managed to get about 5 minutes of sun at Broadwater before it started spitting with rain and the wind really picked up. Hopefully that will get better in the next few days.
I have however had a few opportunities to go out and try my new camera. I think I have taken about 300 photos with it so far so am getting used to it, enjoying the fact it has a view finder rather than just a digital screen.

Bird wise recently nothing unusual. Swifts are around and one pair is nesting just along the road from me. Spotted Flycatchers, Tree Pipits and Woodlark all around but not showing much at the moment. Have done Nightjar, Woodcock and Tawny Owl at Broadwater for the year, weather was not the best that night either. Had a Common Tern at Hayesden CP. Apart from a few warblers it is the usual suspects.

Have been on a Bee walk in Tunbridge Wells, Had quite a few different bees and a fair few plants and flowers. One of the walks I have done was at Southerham with the Sussex Wildlife Trust. A reserve on the South downs that has significant amount of chalk grassland. The soils on top of the chalk are very thin, and only support slow plant growth, but at the same time a huge diversit of different plant species and insects. Plants like Kidney and Horseshoe Vetch, Common Bird'sfoot Trefoil and Common Rock-rse are a few that I wrote down. Orchids always appeal to me and below a photo of Pyramidal and Bee Orchid.  

Butterflies - Seen Common Blue, Ringlet, Large White, Small Skipper and Brimstone recently. Southerham though had the best one so far. Dark green Fritillary, think this is a first for me, I might have seen one years ago but this feels like a first. Am going to go here again next month for the chance of Silver-spotted Skipper and Adonis blue. Moths I know I had were Silver Y but will do those at a later date.

Dragonflies - and damselflies of course. After my Black-tailed Skimmer at Beddington I was always going to then see it again, Southerham again got excellent views of Black-tailed and Emperor dragonfly with Common blue as well. The new one for me though was Red-eyed damselfly at Hayesden CP, had been told where they would be and found the spot easily. Not the best of photos as a long way away, still with my old camera. Also had Downy Emerald there. July and August I hope to get a few more, maybe even get a chance to go with a dragonfly group to check out a area or two. 

That's all for today. Am now sorting through all the photos I have taken with new camera, some need to be deleted, others identified. Will look at the insects next time after I have sorted and id'd some. Will then also give a park update as it is starting to look good now.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Beddington Farmlands Walk

On Sunday I joined my old friend Peter Alfrey at Beddington Farmlands for a guided walk. See his blog which has some great photos from that day. Click on link to the right to view that.
Below are some of the photos I took. A few birds seen, but didn't see the one pair of Tree Sparrow that are hanging in there. This was one of the first places I went birding and back then (80's) there were still a lot there and I saw so many great birds (Little Bunting, Tawny Pipit, Pec Sand) to name a few. Today Cetti's sang from the scrub and Whitethroat put on a good show.   Bloodvein moth was a moth which I have seen before but didn't know what it was, the diamondback moths were all over the mound. Common Blue, Speckled Wood and Large White all showed. I had seen there were black-tailed skimmers there a few days before so I was keeping my eyes peeled for that, as we went over the mound one showed and hopefully now I have seen one I will get one more locally.
After the walk a few of us went to the Bedzed Cafe where we saw Painted Lady and heard Goldcrest.

Oedemera nobilis or False Oil Beetle
or Thick-legged flower beetle or Swollen-thighed beetle
Not sure why it has 3 different names.

Red-tailed Bumblebee below

Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)

What is this below? A shield bug? is it even a insect?

An enjoyable morning and plan to visit again.

Next up a visit to Hayesden again.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Local walk in Tudeley Woods

Went to Brakeybank in Tudeley woods with local expert Ian Beavis. There is always so much information to take in. Early, Carder and White-tailed bee seen. A few different crickets and plenty of different plants.

Wasp beetle which I found and think looks good

Burnet Companion moth (Euclidia glyphica)

Plenty of Spotted Orchid in the meadow

Carder bee (Bombus pascuorum)

Green-veined White

Slow worm

Scaly male fern (Dryopteris affinis
at the base it has yellow-brown scales

Speckled bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima)

Dark bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera)

Green longhorn moth (Adela viridella)

A enjoyable walk and already looking forward to the next one.  Next blog I go back to Beddington Farmlands, which is one of the first places I went birding all those years ago.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Quick visit to Hayesden Country Park

As one of my sons had a birthday party in Tonbridge I thought a quick visit to Hayesden Country Park could work out just right. Because it is quite a big area I concentrated on the shallows and the main area around the sailing lake. Everwhere I seem to go locally I see Grey Wagtail and this was no exception down the shallows and near the sluice there were 2 different birds on show. The usual suspects were on the lake and a Whitethroat posed nicely for the camera.

A few insects and dragonflies around. The shallows had Banded Demoiselle, probably about 20 already. The pond and marsh area under the A21 had Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies. A couple of unidentified insects were found. 
Not sure how these photos are going to come out as the pictures are good on the tablet and camera but when i look at them on here they look a bit blurred, might be the program I download it onto, will look into it. 

Not sure about the one above

I am sure I know the name of the beetle below but will look it up

A good little visit which I enjoyed. At some places it did look a lot different to when I last went there. Need to find out where the red-eyed are seen for when I go again otherwise I might get lost.

Last night I went out to Broadwater at about 9pm, heard Nightjar and Tawny Owl and Woodcock flew over calling. There was a lot of cloud cover and this is why I don't think I saw the Nightjar. On the 12th they have a evening looking for Bats, Nightjar, Woodcock and Glow Worms so might have to go along then.

Today I went on a walk with a local expert to an area of Tudeley woods, but more of that on my next blog.