Friday, 21 June 2013

A catch up...

As I said in my previous post, I have a fair bit to catch up with, so this is more of a bits and pieces post.

We took advantage of the dry weather last weekend and went for dog walks to victory wood and Seasalter beach. Saturday was cloudy but still warm and we love taking Bracken up to the Woodland Trust site, Victory wood. The skylarks were singing in their melodious tones and fluttering up skywards and after a short period of time, appearing to fall back to the ground. They are a true delight to watch and hear. Additionally the swallows skimmed the meadows filled with buttercups for tasty insects, another wonderful sight :) We also heard and caught glimpses of the bird below. Not sure if it is a common or a lesser whitethroat - I think I have said in previous posts how poor my warbler identification is! Please let me know using the comments at the bottom if you have any idea!!

Common or lesser whitethroat??

Buttercup meadow

 On Sunday we drove the short distance to Seasalter (much to Bracken's dislike as he HATES the car) and walked along the shingle beach. As we walked up the old wooden steps up to the path that leads the way to the beach, we saw lizards darting back and forth! Great to see these little creatures, usually associated with hot sunshine, when they are seen sun bathing on logs or stone.

  Bracken ditched his ball and instead found a large shell to play with. Throwing it up in the air, pouncing on it, growling at it. Very cute!

 Sunday afternoon was taken up seeing my dad. He lives by the sea too so lots of gulls were seen, a few house sparrows and some feral pigeons too. A while ago he bought some wild flower matting. Basically just a thin layer of material with various seeds trapped inside. This is just placed in some compost and hey presto ... wild flowers perfect for our pollinators, in pots, on grass, wherever! Impressed!!

Red clover

Cornflower I think

Another cornflower

A walk the other day was fabulously warm. I might even go so far as to say it was hot! Although pretty cloudy, there was hardly a breath of wind which meant I could take a few photos of the various grasses. A brilliantly bright male yellow wagtail sang from the top of  a nearby tree and several white butterflies fluttered by. Bliss!

First encounter with the yellow wagtail

Grass vetchling

Better view of the male yellow wagtail

Now for a few insects and other gardeny things from the last couple of days...

Came downstairs on Wednesday morning and mum pointed out this funny looking insect on the other side of the kitchen window. I noticed a photo of an insect which strongly resembled the one on our window. A bit later on in the morning I was loitering around the flowers looking for insects and butterflies to photograph and I noticed a very odd looking thing... no idea what it it! Please let me know if you do!

Scorpion fly I think


An almost perfectly circular dandilion
The same morning I watched the house sparrows go back and forth to their nest at least 3 times in one minute. They once again stole one of the housemartin nests before they had a chance to claim it when they returned. It is hard to be cross with them when they are in as much trouble as one of our favourite spring/summer migrants. I attempted to count how many hungry mouths the sparrow parents were trying to feed, and at one point I saw 4 funny little yellow beaks poking out of the carefully built nest.

Pretty mummy sparra and 2 closed chick beaks

Can make out 3 chick beaks in this one

Featherless spuggy chick stretching its neck out as far as possible in order to get a little snack!
Neighbour just the other side of the drainpipe!

Clinging onto the wall while it waits to visit its nest!
 I have now caught up so unless I see anything amazing or take any pleasing photos over the weekend, my next post will be after Glastonbury at some point!

Hope you have enjoyed looking at my blog :)

Thursday, 20 June 2013


The past week I have managed to take a huge amount of photos and haven't had the time to put any of them on here!

Something I have focused on with my photography recently is the development of different flowers in the garden and the insects which enjoy the flowers. My first example is the alliums, photos of which I included in my last post. It has been great to see the flower open up from the outside florets to the inside florets. The process could be described as a slow motion botanical Mexican wave! I think it would be fascinating to use time lapse photography to see this in action.

4th June

6th June

12th June

13th June

13th June

Another of the flowers in our garden came as a bit of a surprise. In the garden of the house I grew up in we had lots of red hot pokers. Mum apparently dug one up and brought it with us. Up until this year it had shown no signs of flowering. Cool plants that come in a variety of shades according to wiki! Their genus is actually Kniphofia and they were named after German physician and botanist Johann Hieronymus Kniphof. They also go by the names tritoma, torch lily, knofflers and poker plants.  

12th June

13th June

14th June

18th June

19th June

Not only have these vibrant flowers been developing, but also the housemartin's nest. They only started building it about 3 weeks ago and already they have pretty much completed it! Tremendous birds!

Progress by 13th June
Alongside the flowers already mentioned, the foxgloves are bringing yet more colour to the garden and the honeysuckle ensures that every time I open the back door my nostrils are filled with their gloriously sweet scent.

13th June

14th June
I shall finally leave you with some evening light and sunset photos from last Thursday...

Amazing how quickly the colours strewn across the sky can change!

Anyway I shall leave it there and will hopefully get another post in with more of my backlog of photos before I head to Glastonbury next week!

Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A selection from Wingham

The first few photos follow on from my previous post quite nicely, with a bee posing on the allium. There are also still some bluebells still hanging on in the wooded area near me. Not in their best form but their shadows in the small patch of sunlight on the tree trunk in the 3rd photo down made it look almost magical. 

Bombus lapidarius (I think)

Helophilus pendulus on some hawthorn blossom

I wasn't working at the pub on Saturday so my mum and I decided to take a trip to Wingham Wildlife Park (formerly Wingham Bird Park) because I was thinking of applying to volunteer there. When I was much younger, maybe 4 or 5 I was taken there with my cousins, I think we got chased by a peacock. Well in 15 years or so it has certainly changed and expanded considerably. They now have tigers, lions, wolves and a variety of small mammals, reptiles and birds. So it's basically a small zoo.

Most of the enclosures were pretty good, with places for the animals to hide from the public and things for them to do. However, we weren't impressed with some of the living conditions for the birds of prey... They have a huge kids play area which has clearly had a fair amount of money spent on it, and I just wonder why they haven't spent their money on improving the aviaries which, although we are not experts, could clearly be deemed inadequate. I don't disagree with zoos, they are great for exposing children to incredible animals that otherwise they may only ever see on the TV, and I understand that captive animals wouldn't survive in the wild, but seeing 2 beautiful owls in approx 7x7x5 foot cage with just one perch and isn't acceptable.

Rant over and other than that it was a good day. A fairly amusing moment occurred whilst walking through the flamingo enclosure (you were allowed) when we noticed lots of tiny black fluffy moorhen chicks. The parent bird was hidden in the reeds and a young couple point them out to their small child and said something along the lines of "Ahh look do you think they are flamingo chicks?!" I quickly but hopefully not patronizingly informed them that they weren't.

I took a few photos, but only when I could get one without a bit of wire fence in, or something similar...

Red panda looking like he is trying to whisper something... pssstt

Scrunched up nose

Meerkats having a stretch - funny critters!


Heavily pregnant goat - which species of goat I cannot remember

Drake mallard


Crested crane - it was so near that I couldn't fit its whole crest in my frame!

Cool hairdo!

Pretty female mallard

Cuuuute mallard duckling

Bengal Eagle Owl feathers


Relaxing in the shade

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree

Scarlet swallowtail I think

Owl eye butterfly I believe

 Yesterday I started voluntary work for the Kent Wildlife Trust and helped for a few hours down at Oare marshes. There was a fair crowd looking at the Bonaparte's gull. I took my camera, but upon arrival at Oare, realised that my SD card was in fact still in my laptop. How unhelpful! Not that I probably would have been able to tell it from another gull anyway! Maybe later in the week I'll pop down again to see what all the fuss is about!!

That is all from me for today, thanks for reading :)