Monday, 22 April 2013
WEST FARLEIGH NEWS
The Peacock butterfly above was one of a couple seen in my garden over the weekend, presumably roused from hibernation by some much needed Spring sunshine. They have to be my favourites.
Comma butterflies pictured below were also welcome visitors but seemed less keen to linger very long. Perhaps a not so welcome visitor though was the Grey Heron who sat on the fence eyeing up the fish in my pond. He eventually plucked up courage and flew down onto the path just behind the pond, where he stood motionless among the Daffodils and other Spring flowers. I took some very nice shots of him through the dining room windows, a Heron among the Daffs made an interesting and pleasingly odd composition. Unfortunately, a senior moment of monumental proportions led to me deleting them from the camera before I had downloaded them. I will be sixty this year, I probably need to get used to these things happening now.
Towards the end of the week we had a minimum of four and possibly five Blackcaps in the garden at the same time. This really seems like it could be a bumper year for this super Warbler judging by the numbers seen and heard so far here in West Farleigh and also at New Hythe lakes. Bullfinches too have made a couple more appearances and I forgive them completely for nipping off a few of our buds. Above the house we watched Sparrowhawks circling up on the thermals and to the back of the house two Buzzards called to each other as they drifted across. Such an evocative sound and the first time i've ever heard it from my own garden.
I managed to get out for a local walk on Saturday afternoon, the intention being to find a footpath that would get me to a local Kent Wildlife Trust nature reserve called Quarry Wood. I lost my way though and never reached the reserve, but I did find a pair of Kestrels nesting in a hole in a tree. The female sat at the entrance as the male flew towards the nest with a small Vole in its talons, however, both birds spotted me and flew a short distance to another stand of trees. Not wishing to disturb them further I retreated and left them alone. I think Kestrels are fairly early breeders but i'm not sure if they would have young yet.
Now to the big news. My 'seen from the garden' list gained an impressive tick this weekend when Carol and I caught a glimpse of a large raptor passing quite low over the house. It was heading North, had a nicely forked tail and could only be a Red Kite. I wish i'd looked up from my gardening labours a little earlier as my camera was close by and it was low enough for a decent pic. As it was, a quick dash down the front drive wasn't quick enough, but I did get a second look at its tail just for confirmation.
Finally, in my last post I talked about Frogs turning up in my pond and posted a picture showing a couple of them. But i'm grateful to Greg for pointing out to me that they are not Frogs but Toads. I have subsequently found the tell tale strings of spawn which confirms Greg's ID. Not that I doubted him, it's not the first time he's helped me out and it probably won't be the last. Especially given the previously mentioned impending birthday!