Posted by: Ross Gardner | July 6, 2014

Old friends revisited and new places discovered

One the joys of the turning year is the opportunity for renewing acquaintances, be it the fresh appearance of summer insects to adorn the local wood or the return of winter wading birds to mass on the food-rich mudflats and estuaries.  There will always be something to look forward to.

The Comma is one the first of those familiar faces of our warmer climes to appear in the spring, staying with us all the way through to the autumn.  Those rich orange wings, so often first seen as the race over the shoulder along some woodland ride or hedgerow on a rapid and powerful flight, are never unwelcome.  As with any of our old friends, some of the pleasure of their company is in the familiarity and the reliability of their appearance, but we should never take anything fully for granted – the Comma, after all was something of a rarity of the early 20th century.  This picture, I think, perfectly highlights the point…

Comma (Polygonia c-album) - the subtle beauty of camouflage.  Copyright 2014 Ross Gardner.

Comma (Polygonia c-album) – the subtle beauty of camouflage. Copyright 2014 Ross Gardner.

From familiar faces to the pleasure of discovering new places.  I had the very great good fortune to visit the Kent Wildlife Trust’s Oare Marshes nature reserve yesterday.  It is a wonderfully open landscape of grazing land, open water and marshland, with the spread of The Swale over the seawall to boot.  A stiff but warm breeze couldn’t keep the Ruddy Darter off the wing, a dragonfly that appears common here.  The grassland buzzed with Skippers and more literally with the sound of bush-crickets, while the plentiful bramble blossom attracted the attentions of the summer’s inaugural Gatekeeper and a host of other winged creatures that lifted the throng of the season brimming to the fore.

And the birds.  At a time of year when the birdwatchers can finding themselves in something of a lull, the place was full of them.  The open, East Flood was liberally scattered with Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank by the dozen, alongside the various wildfowl which included the marvellous bonus a few Garganey.

I will definitely be back.

A view from Oare Marshers: sea-lavender over the salt-marsh and The Swale beyond.  Ross Gardner 2014.

A view from Oare Marshes: sea-lavender over the salt-marsh and The Swale beyond. Ross Gardner 2014.

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