A change of scenery today. Carol and I did a walk along the River Medway, starting from the medieval bridge at Teston and finishing at another medieval bridge at East Farleigh a couple of miles downstream and back. The walk also passes alongside the village of Barming, part of Adam Whitehouse's patch, so I hope he doesn't mind the trespass.
It wasn't too long before Carol spotted a Kingfisher flying low and fast along the opposite bank and soon after, we stopped to listen to a drumming Gt Spotted Woodpecker. It was quite close by and we were both amazed at how loud it sounded, it had obviously found a good quality piece of timber to drill but despite a good scan with the binoculars we couldn't locate it. Green Woodpeckers were also heard and briefly seen, their raucous yaffling puncturing the quiet and seeming to echo around the stillness of the valley. The only other sounds being the local birdsong and the occasional train travelling along the adjacent railway line.
It's a while since I walked along this part of the river and I was surprised when we reached Barming that the old wooden road bridge had been replaced with a new iron pedestrian bridge. I remember fishing this stretch of river in my mis spent teens and early twenties and can still hear the clatter of the cars driving slowly over the wooden boards of the old structure.
From Barming towards East Farleigh we saw an assortment of birds including Song Thrushes, Chaffinches, Canada Geese and a Sparrowhawk which circled effortlessly above us before gaining height and drifting away over the river. Ever the gentleman I treated Carol to a lunch of bananas and chocolate on a bench opposite East Farleigh weir, where I sat in the sun and daydreamed of the giant Barbel and Pike which must surely swim in it's depths.
The Kestrel pictured above accompanied us for some of the way back towards Teston, sometimes perched in the treetops along the railway line and sometimes dropping to the ground. On this occasion it seemed to be eating a large worm or something similar. Left click to have a closer look and check out it's very nice 'baggy trousers'.
The river meanders slowly here at not much more than a decent walking pace. I think i'm right in saying that this, non tidal part of the Medway, is unique insofar as it's flow is entirely controlled by locks.
Apart from a very big flock of Crows and Jackdaws which rose up from fields on the other side of the railway track, the stars of the return trip were two Buzzards who displayed above us and came close to locking talons on several occasions. We stood and watched until they were tiny dots in the sky and then they drifted away upstream. And so did we.