Come with me to one of the best Nature Reserves in the country as we visited Oare Marshes last week. The best bird was a Little Gull, sadly to far away to photograph

Hall Place, Bexley

Posted: July 3, 2020 in History, London, UK

Join me on a visit to hall place in Bexley (Pre-Lockdown)

More details on hall place and its history can be found at

Always interested to read new things and was fascinated by this article by Stephen Liddell on Anglo Saxon refugees following the Norman Conquest.

Everyone knows about the New England colony that was established on the eastern coast of North America but much less known about and something I’ve long been interested in is that accounts of a creation of a New England on the shores of the Black Sea around 500 years earlier than the one in North […]

Nova Anglia – The Anglo Saxon refugees who built the original New England on the Black Sea. — Stephen Liddell
We visited the centre last week. It was pretty quiet but it was a lovely walk.

Nice to see that even if we are in Lockdown, nature is carrying on as normal

Haven’t seen a sign of the first batch , but here are the second lot! They don’t waste time! On the Rhogo pond with 2 pairs of Tufties and a family of Canadas. Meanwhile back at L’dod lake another brief appearance of a Sedge Warb up the southern end opposite the woodland path where Bazz […]

More wee grebes. — Radnor Bird Blog

Hyde Park

Posted: June 18, 2020 in Birds, Landscape, Natural History

A walk around Hyde Park in central London

Hoff Crab

Posted: June 16, 2020 in Natural History

Fascinated to find out about these crabs on a TV documentary the other day. They live in colonies in the South Atlantic between south America and Antarctica. They were only discovered in 2010. They live around hydro-thermal sulphur geezers in temperatures which may reach 350C.

The crabs are covered in hairs which in turn are populated by sulphur-oxidising bacteria, which convert Sulphur into Carbon, which the crabs ingest when they eat the bacteria.

The generic name ‘Hoff crab’ was given to it by researchers in 2010, as the hairiness of the crab reminded them of David ‘The Hoff’ Hasslehoff’s chest.

There is something about this stand of trees by the Oast House pool at Bough Beech that fascinates me.

Our trip out this week was a return to Bough Beech near Sevenoaks. I was returning for two reasons. One the local dragonfly recorder had asked for photographs of the Brilliant Emerald Dragonfly I had seen last week in order to confirm the record (I hadn’ t managed any last week) and secondly because a Western Osprey had been hanging around the Reservoir all weekend.

Our first sightings, however, were of a human kind as we met up with Andrew and Nicole, who we hadn’t seen since before lockdown and so it was good chance to catch up with them. They directed me to a Little Ringed Plover they had found on the edge of the reservoir and also described another wader which they had seen briefly in a channel in the vegetation on the north pool before it had disappeared from sight into the vegetation.

After they had left, I got another brief view of the mystery wader and although not totally sure thought it was probably Green Sandpiper. Amongst the other birds on the reservoir today were Common Terns and Grey Wagtail as well as the usual selection of Ducks, Swans and Geese. A female Mandarin Duck with 12 chicks was a pleasant sight.

I then decided to walk up to the Oast house to see if I could get the photographs of Brilliant Emerald. What a difference a week makes! the temperature was about 10 degrees lower than last week and whereas then there were about 40 insects from 5 species present, not a single one was to be seen today. I did hear Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff and got excellent views of the resident Kingfisher.

Common Whitethroat. Photo by Nicole

Back at the Reservoir, I though I would give the mystery wader one more go. Imagine my surprise when I looked into the channel and there it was, a Green Sandpiper, sitting out on a rock in plain view. I tried to get a photo but the hedge vegetation has grown so high that I couldn’t get a clear shot before it wandered off into the vegetation and out of view.

Green Sandpiper. Photo by Corine Bliek (

A good end to our trip.

Venturing Forth

Posted: June 4, 2020 in Dragonflies, Kent, Natural History, UK

Our first trip out in 10 weeks (except for shopping) was a couple of hours at Bough Beech near Sevenoaks. As we arrived a Cuckoo departed and was not seen again, apparently, we had also just missed a Red Kite. The reservoir was fairly quite. By the evidence of the number of young Grey Herons present, the local heronry had experienced a good breeding season.

But the stars of the trip were 5 species of Dragonfly including one male Brilliant Emerald, only my second sighting in the UK. This local species is only found in West Kent and Surrey and in 2 areas in West and North East Scotland.

Brilliant Emerald. Photo by Paul Ritchie (