There have been several cameras on the ponds for a while, but this picture, captured in the early hours of this morning, was a first for us. I posted this photo on a birding facebook group and there was a suggestion that this Tawny was after frogs – that may be so but surely they also need to drink?
Another interesting visitor was this juvenile Green Woodpecker:
The juveniles are so speckly. Lovely to see that there has been successful breeding nearby.
There are Darters at both ponds:
As usual, I am struggling with identification. My feeling is that this dragonfly above at the Hide Pond is a Common Darter. Ruddy Darters, that I had decided were the species at the pond a couple of weeks ago, have completely black legs and this one is definitely not that.
However, these Darters at the Wild Pond today could very well be Ruddy Darters.
Whatever their species, I think they are absolutely wonderful and fascinating things, but I definitely need to get myself onto some sort of course to learn more about them.
Looking at the weather forecast for the next fortnight, we see with despair that still no rain is forecast and so have taken the decision to add some tap water to the wild pond which is so low and in danger of drying out completely.
The plan is to top it up in small amounts over the next few days, giving time for the chlorine etc to evaporate off before the next addition. This will be adding unwanted nutrients into the pond, but that has to be balanced against the devastating loss of life should it totally dry out.
The bird ringing season kicked off here this morning. The bird ringer, who lives nearby and uses these meadows to record and ring migrating birds, came for the first time for several months. At this time of year, he is only allowed to play the songs of birds that have now started to migrate, to ensure that he does not interfere with any breeding activity. So the meadows were filled with the loud and wonderful calls of Wood Warblers and Pied Flycatchers this morning in an attempt to attract any birds of these species into the nets. Nearby dog walkers who know their bird songs might have been getting very worked up and excited by this, because these are birds to get worked up and excited about. However, at the end of a hot couple of hours, not a single bird had been caught.
A few days ago, the plant recorder for the County of Kent visited because she wanted to see the Betony that we had spotted here last week:
This is not a rare plant generally, but it has not been recorded in this area before and so she was interested. While she was here we took the opportunity to walk round the meadows with her and learned so much that we didn’t know before.
For instance, we did not know that we had St John’s Wort growing by the pond:
Or Burdock growing in the hedgerow:
And this plant that we had noticed but hadn’t got round to looking up in the books turns out to be Agrimony:
These are plants that I had heard of but didn’t know what they looked like. Hopefully we will remember them by the time they come up again next year.