Monday, 22 April 2013


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! 


Warren Baker said...

I dunno mate, deleting photo's, then getting lost - its not looking at all good is it :-)

The new home sounds really great for wildlife Phil, I bet you get a long house list there - you'll need to remember to write it all down though ;-)

Alan Pavey said...

As Warren says the new house sounds great and Red Kite already great stuff!

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photo of that beautiful Peacock butterfly Phil. It sounds like your garden is going to be a great place for birds, well done on seeing the Red Kite! I hope you find your way to Quarry Wood eventually :-) Such a shame about the deleted photos!

Jason K said...

It sounds like you have got some good new areas to work near your new home Phil...I look forward to reading future posts!

ShySongbird said...

Hi again Phil, Just to say I had an email purporting to be from you last night with just a very odd looking link which I didn't follow. I have a feeling your email address may have been hacked? Sorry to do this here but for obvious reasons I didn't want to email you!

Phil said...

Thanks and apologies!
My e mail was indeed hijacked but I didn't see it as we were en route to the Isle of Mull at the time. BT Yahoo did intervene quickly to suspend the account but some of my contacts did still receive malicious mail. There truly are a lot of very sad people about and I hope that somewhere down the line they will pay for their nastiness.
I think I have taken the necessary steps to render my account safe but if you or any other of my contacts receive mail that makes even less sense than usual, please delete it straight away.
On a happier note, Carol and I have just been treated to the stunning sight of a White-tailed Sea Eagle drifting over our cottage on the island during a brief sunny spell. Bliss!

ShySongbird said...

Hi Phil, Thanks for responding and no need for apologies. What a pain for you. I have had three different blogland friends who've experienced the same problem through Yahoo in the last few months!

When I didn't hear anything from you on Saturday my immediate thought was that it was probably Mull time again ;-) Hope you and Carol have a wonderful time, the White-tailed Sea Eagle sounded like a lovely start. Enjoy!!

Julie Hargreaves said...

Great Butterfly photos