Saturday, 22 February 2014

Insects Make A Start

In the garden today, a brimstone, 7 spot ladybird, an Eristalis sp. of hoverfly, honey bees and a queen tree bee. Bring on the sunshine.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Feel Good Factor

Out on toad patrol for the first time this year and Lisa and I managed to save 4 toads, 2 frogs and 2 probably smooth newts. The toads are so cute when they make their little squeaky noises, I know that sounds soppy but they are, honest. Unfortunately there were 3 squashed toads in the road :-(

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Checkout Ma Chakras

So this week I visited Tyland Barn, home of the Kent Wildlife Trust and had a good natter with Sue Morris who heads up the people engagement side of things. Sue introduced me to Sam who is puting together a survey for water voles and mink along parts of the north Kent marshes, keen to get involved and get myself trained up in all things riparian I offered my services. So hopefully come April I will be able to attend a training course and then help our over the spring and summer, cannot wait.

Toad patrol time is getting close, I'm expecting the call from KRAG anytime now to get my fluorescent jacket on and head off to Southfleet protecting toads, frogs and newts from getting squashed as they travel to their traditional ponds to mate and have a good time. At least this year I'll know to help the toads whatever direction they are traveling in. Last year I just assumed the toads going back across the road where confused and heading in the wrong direction. Ooops.

Out for a short walk in the lovely sunshine after seeing 4 buzzards flying over the garden, certainly they seem to be doing well in the local area. 7 spot ladybird and a comma on the wing were nice to see along with a flock of 130 linnets in the surrounding farmland.

Now to the title. Chakras are the meeting points of the non-physical energy channels, seems fairly obvious to me!!! Well Lisa has a much better handle about it all than me, so we visited Glastonbury over the weekend a very interesting place for all things alternative, spiritual, earthie and non-physical energy flows. We were almost put off by the reports of the flooding and were thinking of not going but to be honest the worst of the flooding that we experienced was to the west of Glastonbury and some of the locals we spoke to mentioned that tourists seemed to be staying away due to the inflated media reports of the flooding. Well I'm sure it was not inflated if you were one of the poor people affected but you can understand what the local business folk meant.

A couple of photos here so you can gauge some of the extent as Lisa and I also visited on our way to Cornwall in September 2013. Both of these are taken from the Tor.

Sept 2013.

Just about most of the farmland west of Glastonbury is under water!

Feb 2014

There is a great cake shop in the high street, obviously highly admired by one very patient customer.

In another shop you find yourself in a very different world of alternative medicine, just an amazing display of herbs and aromatherapy based medicinal cures, along with some freaky candles.

They also had an excellent 'Green Man' made from herbs.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Welcome Back

If you are reading this then the likelihood is that you are one of my few followers that have stuck in there and noticed that I've returned, so welcome back and I hope you like the new banner. The dragonfly species is an emperor that I photographed at Beacon Hill country park many years back

This year is going to be an interesting one and I've decided to resurrect the blog to try and document what happens. At the end of March I'm getting made redundant from my IT manager job at Barclays and after 28 years in the industry this is the best chance I'm going to get in my life to make the career change I've been longing for, so here goes. I’m going to try and get a career in ecology! So at the moment I’m dusting off and totally re-writing the CV and preparing cover letters and having to re learn all those interview skills that I last used 28 years ago, to be honest it feels like I’ve left college again.

At the moment I'm having great difficulty getting my last contracted date with my current employer finalised but I expect to be leaving them on March 31st and then I’m ready for the spring big time and too be honest I cannot wait.
So far this year I haven't been out that much but here is what has been happening in my world.

I’m going to sneak back into 2012 a little bit because I was lead guide on one of the ORCA I-SPY trips in September where we had Chris Packham as a guest, who by the way I consider to be a top guy. The trip was just awesome where the 80 or so guests on the Brittany Ferries Pont Aven, where treated to an amazing wildlife spectacle. Just take a look at the sightings map we kept during the trip.

On this trip I managed to see a new species of cetacean for me in the amazing shape of northern bottlenose whale and I also got another personal first for the Bay of Biscay when we picked up killer whales close to the ferry, the whole trip was just wild with mind blowing observations.

Then still in September of last year I managed to get to Grain for a visit and saw my very first water shrew, unfortunately a dead one.

So why a water shrew? Well it has black fur without any change of colouration or demarcation on the belly like common shrew, it also has white fur around the ears and the underside of the tail is furred.

So into this year, 2014.

Well I've managed to do a winter bird survey, to help me build my ecology survey experience and also attended a Kent Mammal Group riparian survey training event. led by Richard Andrews, which will also come in useful later in the year when the surveys kick off.

Have I been out anywhere? Well given my change of header, I visited Beacon Woods at Bean, in the mud and rain.

This is a flooded viewing platform that normally overlooks the main pond!

I did manage to find these lovely fungi which I’ve yet to put a name too. Looks like someone's spilled some paint on them.