Saturday, 29 March 2014

Flower Power

Rediscovered my macro lens today.

A cute female flower bee taking a rest and warming up on the patio.
Time for a wash and brush up including making sure that you have a very clean tongue!

Now for a bit of a feed but she's got the attention of the local males....

The female makes a break for it but is followed by two males who are joined by a third.
 One of the males attempts to mate with the female whilst another is close by.
 The male successfully mates with the female and I leave them alone.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Early Spring - So Easy To Miss

Blink and you can miss it. I find that spring is so easily missed, you tend to wait for spring to happen and then realise that it has and summer is fast approaching. March is when it all kicks off big time, and today was no exception, what a beautiful warm and sunny day.

I visited an area close to home and happily spent a couple of hours in the company of many butterflies, I must have had at least 12 brimstones flying up and down the hedgerows along with peacocks and commas. Buzzards were displaying overhead and lizards scurrying about in the leaf litter and basking in the warmth along with a single male adder.

 Backlit cultivated dafodils but the sign of early spring.

This peacock was one of many warming itself after overwintering in the area.
Common lizard catching a few rays.
Common Buzzard, one of 4 in the skies, displaying.

 Eristalis pertinax, the drone fly, a common but distinctive species.

Lesser Celandine, only a few in flower along with violets.

Comma butterfly, so called because of the white 'comma' like mark on the underwing.

Primroses, just make you feel good. 

Male adder, my first for the year.

Only when I had to leave did events take a turn for the worst as folks arrived intent on riding their motorbikes and quad bikes around the same area that all this wonderful wildlife lives in. Such a shame, I doubt they even cared.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

February Missing Bits

So stuff that I forgot to blog about earlier. Well the first frogs in the pond appeared around Feb 17th and since then i've seen at least 4 with 2 coupled but so far no sign of any spawn. Toad patrolling at Swanscombe has been hit and miss but so far 8 toads, 7 frogs and 6 newts have been safely carried across the road and have hopefully been able to do their stuff. Whilst 5 toads and 1 frog weren't so lucky getting squashed on the way whilst crossing the road :-(

Also on the 17th Feb I saw a freshly dead badger at the top of the dual carriageway from the Bean roundabout as you approach Bluewater, whilst driving to work at Crossways. I've never knowingly heard redwings sing in the UK before this February and on a few occasions whilst walking to the car at Crossways I've enjoyed listening to a quiet, presumed, sub-song of a couple of redwings that were feeding on the cotoneaster berries of the bushes linking the various car parks there.

Friday was the start of the spring/summer/autumn Garden Moth Scheme, so I set my 40W actinic trap with an expectation of catching nothing especially as it was pouring with rain and cold. My expectation was appropriate for the night as my check of the trap in the morning proved that I had caught nothing or at least nothing decided to stay and who could blame it.

Went to a very interesting talk on Wildlife and Planning given by David Skully from Tunbridge Wells District Council last Friday at a Kent Mammal Group meeting. Certainly a subject that I knew very little about. David is the Biodiversity Officer for that Council and gets involved in many, if not all of the planning applications. Whilst David obviously enjoys his work immensely, I came away from the talk with the feeling that local councils are placed under great pressure to manage planning applications and their biodiversity impacts with minimal resources. I was unaware that quotas for handling planning applications are set by the government with penalties imposed if quotas are not met and the government wading in to make a planning decision if the 8 week timeline from submission to decision is not met. No doubt, David and his colleagues sometimes have to make compromises.

When you see government statements such as
'Purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable development'
rather than what I'd prefer to read
'Purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable biodiversity'

I tend to wonder just how long the remaining green spaces in Kent will actually remain and what will be left for future generations outside of nature reserves, assuming that the nature reserves are allowed to continue to enjoy their protected status?