A few weeks ago my blogger friend Marianne (visit her super blog here) and I paid a visit to the Old Lodge Reserve in the Ashdown Forest. All the usual Old Lodge favourites were seen including Redstarts, Woodlarks and Tree Pipits. Unfortunately they kept their distance from my 300mm lens.
It was here last year that I found my first and only Brilliant Emerald dragonfly. I really didn't expect a repeat sighting on this occasion and was amazed when a somewhat distant glimpse of a dragon on the wing turned out to be another one. This one was pretty fresh and probably recently emerged, thus allowing us to move closer and take some pics (shame about the busy background), while it gathered strength before eventually departing.
Around the small peaty ponds on the reserve we found several Four-spotted Chasers, always one of my favourites. Much better background to this one thankfully.
Also in attendance were several Emperor dragonflies. They patrolled their territories with endless patience, warding off any trespassers like the Four Spots and the occasional Broad-bodied Chasers.
I've paid a couple of visits to New Hythe Lakes recently. Nothing too exciting going on there but here are some pics anyway. Starting with Reed Warbler above.
Caterpillars of the Peacock butterfly on Nettles.
A Wren announcing its presence with usual gusto.
The first of the Meadow Brown butterflies have appeared.
Very friendly Shield Bugs
And finally a Large White butterfly
My local Kent Wildlife Trust site, Quarry Wood, is just along the road from me. There is a small meadow just before reaching the wood and it was here that I found my first Small Skipper butterflies (above and below) of the year.
OOPS! Many thanks to Marianne for pointing out that the Skipper above is in fact a Large Skipper.
For the last two years I have found Golden-ringed dragonflies within the woods.
This doesn't appear to be particularly suitable habitat for them really. But I managed to find another one recently, so they must like it anyway!
In the garden we've had several visits from female Emperor dragonflies (Empresses?) ovipositing in our pond.
The Wren who had taken up residence in the old House Martins nest under our eaves is now busy feeding her brood, and we also now have a new House Martin's nest at the other end of the house where, judging by the mess on our window, successful breeding is under way.
And finally, here's a very poor, low light picture of a Barn Owl who is nesting along the river, just a few hundred yards from our house. Exciting stuff!!